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Video: Mom: Teen targeted due to of ‘color of his skin’

  1. Closed captioning of: Mom: Teen targeted due to of ‘color of his skin’

    >> is with us along with the family's attorney. miss fulton , our condolences.

    >> good morning. thank you.

    >> i know you've asked yourself this question a thousand times, what could have happened that night between these two men, your son and mr. zimmerman , that resulted in this tragedy. when you think of any possible scenario, is there one you can come up with in your mind where your son actually tried to harm that neighborhood volunteer?

    >> no, i cannot. i just can say that i'm pretty sure my son tried to get away. he didn't know who this guy was. he seen him as a stranger. so he was trying to just get away from the situation.

    >> anything in your son's past, miss fulton , any run-ins with the law, anything going on his life at the time of the shooting that might have had him in a different state of mind , an agitated state?

    >> no. he was never agitated. he had never had a run-in with the law. he was mild-mannered. he was a nice kid.

    >> when you -- and i know you didn't want to listen to the tape this morning. you have heard it. but you asked us not to play it for you this morning, but you heard mr. zimmerman at one point on that tape saying about your son, he's up to no good. there's something wrong with this guy. what do you think he was reacting to?

    >> he was reacting to the color of his skin. he committed no crime. my son wasn't doing anything but walking on the sidewalk. and i just don't understand why this situation got out of control.

    >> the father of mr. zimmerman says that his son is not now and never has been a racist. that he is being portrayed incorrectly in the media. he also said at no time did his son george follow or confront your son. what's your reaction to that?

    >> i just don't think his dad knows all the facts, and the situation that happened. if he -- him being a parent, if something happened to his son, he would want to know more information, and not just jump to conclusions .

    >> what would be the question you'd want to ask george zimmerman ?

    >> i would just want to ask him, was it a different way he could have handled the situation?

    >> mr. crump let me bring in quickly, florida is one in 15 states that has something called a stand your ground law, makes it easier to claim self-defense, if you feel threatened near your home, do you think that's exactly what is going to happen here? do you think you have any legal recourse here?

    >> i think zimmerman has no legal recourse . he was not at his home. he was on a sidewalk, a common area, trayvon martin was 70 feet away from the back door. he was almost home . zimmerman got out of his car, did not listen to the police, and chased this kid. you can't chase somebody and then claim self-defense. he had a 9 millimeter gun, he was almost 80 pounds more weight than trayvon martin. and it is a situation where, where you look at these parents, and you listen to those 911 tapes, and the three witnesses, everybody in america is asking when are they going to arrest zimmerman for killing this kid in cold blood ?

    >> we will be following this story, mr. crump, miss fulton . again our condolences. and i thank you for joining us this morning.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 3/19/2012 9:28:06 AM ET 2012-03-19T13:28:06

The family of a Florida teen fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month is speaking out, saying that the shooting was unprovoked —and racially motivated.

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Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed by George Zimmerman in a Sanford, Fla., gated community on the evening of Feb. 26 as he returned from a trip to a local 7-Eleven. Martin and his father were visiting family friends there. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self defense, and has not been charged with a crime.

Video: Mom: Teen targeted due to of ‘color of his skin’ (on this page)

But Martin's family is pointing to 911 calls released by police on Friday that they say depict a terrified teenager who was being chased by Zimmerman. Martin was found face down, unarmed, with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

“(Zimmerman) was reacting to the color of his skin,’’ Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, told Matt Lauer on Monday. “He committed no crime. My son wasn’t doing anything but walking on the sidewalk, and I just don’t understand why this situation got out of control.’’

Video: 911 calls eyed in killing of Florida teen (on this page)

“Trayvon had a bag of Skittles,’’ Fulton’s attorney, Ben Crump, told Lauer. “(Zimmerman) had a nine millimeter gun. He was almost 80 pounds more weight than Trayvon Martin. This is a situation where when you…listen to those 911 tapes and the three witnesses, everyone in America is asking, when are they going to arrest Zimmerman for killing this kid in cold blood?’’

Fulton believes her son did nothing to engage Zimmerman before the deadly encounter. The family is pushing for an investigation, and Zimmerman’s arrest. The case is now in the hands of the State Attorney’s Office, which has the power to file charges or present evidence to a grand jury.

TODAY
Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, along with the family's attorney Ben Crump told TODAY Monday that they believe the teen was killed because of "the color of his skin."

“I just can say I’m pretty sure my son tried to get away,’’ Fulton said. “He didn’t know who this guy was. He saw him as a stranger, so he was trying to just get away from the situation. He had never had a run-in with the law. He was mild-mannered. He was a nice kid.’’

Video: Family seeks justice for slain teen

In one call, the 911 dispatcher can be heard instructing Zimmerman not to pursue Martin.

“This guy looks like he’s up to no good or on drugs or something,’’ Zimmerman tells the dispatcher. “He’s a black male. Something’s wrong with him. He’s coming to check me out.”

“Are you following him?’’ the dispatcher replies. “OK, we don’t need you to do that.’’

Several neighbors also made frantic calls, describing the struggle. “They’re wrestling right in the back of my porch,’’ one neighbor said. “The guy’s yelling “Help” and I’m not going outside.’’

“There’s someone screaming!’’ another neighbor said. “I just heard gunshots!”

A voice can be heard screaming in the background of one of the calls. Zimmerman has said the voice is his, but Martin’s family believes it is the cries of their terrified son.

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“There’s a black guy down,’’ a neighbor said in one chilling call. “It looks like he’s been shot and he’s dead.’’

“That was my baby, and he was pleading for his life,’’ Fulton told Amy Robach tearfully on TODAY Saturday. “I just don’t understand how that’s self defense. You can clearly him yelling for help.’’

Florida has a “stand your ground’’ law that makes a self-defense claim easier than it is in some other states, but Martin's family’s attorney doesn’t believe it applies in this instance.

Family: 911 calls show shooting of black teen was not in self-defense

“I think Zimmerman has no legal recourse,’’ Crump said. “He was not at his home. He was on the sidewalk, a common area. Trayvon Martin was 70 feet away from the back door — he was almost home. Zimmerman got out of his car, did not listen to the police, and chased this kid. You can’t chase somebody and then claim self defense.’’

Zimmerman’s father has said that his son, who is Hispanic, has never discriminated against anyone. He wrote in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel that his son has been unfairly depicted as a racist by the media.

“I just don’t think his dad knows all the facts in the situation that happened,’’ Fulton said. “If something happened to his son, he would want to know more information and not just jump to conclusions.’’

More than anything, Fulton wishes for a different outcome.

“I would just want to ask him, was there a different way he could’ve handled the situation?’’ she said.

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