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Video: Trayvon Martin’s parents: We want an arrest

  1. Closed captioning of: Trayvon Martin’s parents: We want an arrest

    >> much. trayvon martin's father tracy and mother sabrina fulton are with us now exclusively, along with their attorney ben crump. good morning to all of you naup for joining us. i appreciate it. this phone call that was carried on between trayvon and this young lady , just before he was shot, the young lady says that she heard him saying why are you following me. says perhaps he then put his hoodie up on his sweatshirt and heard someone else saying what are you doing in this neighborhood, and then the phone went dead. what do you think this phone call proves?

    >> to me it proves that he wasn't walking around the neighborhood, doing anything suspicious. he was on his way home. he had every right to have on his hoodie. it was raining. why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?

    >> this is not a recorded phone call , mrs. fulton . the young lady -- the police in sanford asked anyone with information to come forward if they had that. this young lady , according to our reporting, had not come forward. and we're now getting her version of this phone call . can it be trusted?

    >> yes, it can. she was distraught because of the situation that happened with trayvon. and the fact that she was on the phone with him when he -- when the incident occurred right before the incident occurred. so she was very distraught. she had to go to the hospital. she was hospitalized. she also mentioned to us that she had feelings for trayvon. so it hurts her dearly to know that he has passed away.

    >> mr. crump, though, as an attorney, does it worry you that really what this is is hearsay evidence ?

    >> it really doesn't. because she is a 16-year-old teenager who just lost a person very special to her. her parents are very concerned. they did not want her to get involved. and it wasn't until mr. martin saw the phone records and saw that she called him at 7:12. the police got on the scene 7:17. he was shot and dead on the ground. five minutes --

    >> just before this happened.

    >> she talked to him.

    >> briefly i want to ask you about this our controversy now with this 911 call. some people who have heard the entire tape believe that mr. zimmerman , the man who shot your son, uttered a racial slur . some people think he head blanking punks. other people think he said blanking and then a racial slur . have you heard the entire tape? and do you think you've heard the original tape? what's your opinion.

    >> i never heard the entire tape but the part that i did hear zimmerman did go on saying, i think he said words that were not -- were not comforting to my ears. like these people. and who are these people? he was suspicious because he was young, black, with a hoodie.

    >> let me read you something that lawyers for the department of justice have said on the condition of anonymity. that while the investigation of the shooting of 17-year-old trayvon martin will go forward, it would be difficult to prosecute the case under federal law . civil rights law protects against hate crimes or actions by police officer . but martin's shooting may not have either of those elements.

    >> matt, it's rare to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted. now the state needs to do it. it's crazy that this family has to wait for grand juries and stuff when if it was the other way around, they would have arrested their son on the spot.

    >> mr. fulton , as we put the picture of trayvon up on the screen it is very easy to look at this young man and want to support you, and to comfort you, and offer our condolences. but do we also have to remember that with all the public outcry here, that there is, perhaps, potential for a rush to judgment against mr. zimmerman , who has not been charged with a crime, and even if he had been charged with a crime, would have to be viewed as innocent in the eyes of the law. are you worried about that? would you urge people to be patient?

    >> i would urge people to be patient. let the courts decide. but, i strongly feel that he needs to be arrested, because a crime was committed. my son is murdered. my son is not with us no more. nothing can bring him back.

    >> only two people know what happened that night. and your son, unfortunately, cannot tell his side of the story. miss fulton , are you worried that in a court of law, it will be tough to convince a jury of this -- of the guilt of mr. zimmerman beyond a reasonable doubt ?

    >> well, there are some witnesses. there are witnesses, and i just want them to take a look at the evidence that they have. i just hurt, in my heart hurt because this guy has not been arrested. and i just feel like the sanford police department decided to decide if he -- if they decided on the scene to be the judge and jury. and i just want this guy arrested so he can be brought to justice.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 3/21/2012 8:50:35 AM ET 2012-03-21T12:50:35

A friend who spoke on the phone with Trayvon Martin only moments before he was shot dead in a Florida suburb had to be hospitalized from the trauma. Though there's no recording of the call, Martin's family says her story, refuting the shooter's self-defense claim, can be trusted.

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Cell phone records provided by the family’s attorney indicate the 16-year-old girl was having a conversation with Martin only about five minutes before he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Video: Teen’s last call sheds new light on shooting (on this page)

Martin, 17, was returning home from a trip to a local 7-Eleven when he had the deadly encounter in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., with Zimmerman, 28, who has claimed that he shot the unarmed teen in self defense. Zimmerman has not been charged, but the State Attorney’s Office has announced it will convene a grand jury in the case. The incident has sparked national outrage.

Story: Mom: Trayvon Martin was killed because of 'the color of his skin'

Though early on in the investigation police asked for anyone with information related to the shooting to come forward, Martin's friend did not — because she was highly emotional, Martin's mother told TODAY Wednesday.

TODAY
Trayvon Martin, 17, was killed while visiting a family friend in a Florida gated community.

“She was distraught because of the situation that happened with Trayvon and the fact that she was on the phone with him right before the incident occurred,’’ Sybrina Fulton, told Matt Lauer. “She was hospitalized. She also mentioned to us that she had feelings for Trayvon, so it hurt her dearly to know that he had passed away.’’

Family attorney Ben Crump argued that though the call was not recorded, the girl's account is not hearsay.

“She is a 16-year-old teenager who just lost a friend very special to her,’’ Crump told Lauer. “Her parents are very concerned. They did not want her to get involved, and it wasn’t until Mr. Martin found the phone records and saw that she called him at 7:12. The police got on the scene at 7:17, and he was shot and dead on the ground.’’

The girl, whose identity has not been released, said Martin, realizing someone was following him, pulled up the hood of his sweatshirt. She told Trayvon to run, and then the call was cut off.

'Stand Your Ground' law muddies Martin case

“So she says run, and (Martin) says ‘I’m not going to run, I’m just going to walk fast,’’’ Crump told reporters. “And at that point, she hears Trayvon say, ‘Why are you following me?’ And that’s when she said she hears the other boy say, ‘What are you doing around here?’’’

“To me it proves that he wasn’t walking around the neighborhood doing anything suspicious,’’ said Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, on TODAY. “He was on his way home. He had every right to have on his hoodie. It was raining. Why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?’’

Video: Trayvon Martin’s parents: We want an arrest (on this page)

There also have been allegations that Zimmerman can be heard muttering a racial slur on the 911 tapes that were released from the incident, though he may have been saying "punks."

“I heard the entire tape,’’ Tracy Martin said. “I think he said words that were not comforting to my ear. ‘These people.’ ‘Who are these people?’ He was suspicious because (Trayvon) was young and black with a hoodie.’’

Lawyer: Trayvon Martin fearful in final call

Florida has a “Stand Your Ground’’ law that gives people the right to protect themselves with deadly force, even outside of their homes. Since the law was enacted in 2005, data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows that the number of justifiable homicides has tripled.

“The 'Stand Your Ground' law is a license to kill,’’ former U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey told NBC News. “(Zimmerman) is clearly claiming self defense and relying on the 'Stand Your Ground' law. However, there is circumstantial evidence suggesting that he had no business gunning down somebody who’s armed only with Skittles and a can of iced tea.’’

Neighbor defends Trayvon Martin's shooter: 'No Rambo'

A Department of Justice lawyer told NBC News on the condition of anonymity that, “While the investigation of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin will go forward, it will be difficult to prosecute the case under federal law. Civil rights law protects against hate crimes or actions by police officers, but Martin’s shooting may not have either of those elements.’’

Martin’s family is confident that a jury can be convinced that Zimmerman committed a crime.

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“I would urge people to patient and let the courts decide, but I strongly feel that he needs to be arrested because a crime was committed,’’ Tracy Martin said. “My son is murdered. My son is not with us no more. Nothing can bring him back.’’

“There are witnesses, and I just want them to take a look at the evidence that they have,’’ Fulton said. “My heart hurts because this guy has not been arrested. I just feel like the Sanford Police Department decided…on the scene to be the judge and jury. I just want this guy arrested so he can be brought to justice.’’

Video: Feds to probe shooting death of Fla. teen

Crump said police should have charged Zimmerman from the beginning.

“It’s real simple to us,’’ Crump said. “He needs to be arrested, prosecuted, convicted. The state needs to do it. It’s crazy that this family has to wait for grand juries and stuff when if it was the other way around, they would’ve arrested their son on the spot.’’

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