Trayvon's Parents react to George Zimmerman's verdict - MSNBC full interview transcript, video

Following last night’s announcement of the second-degree murder charges being brought against George Zimmerman, the parents of Trayvon Martin discussed the outcome of the case and their thoughts with MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton during ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews.’

The full transcript and embeddable video from MSNBC’s ‘Hardball' were sent to Monsters and Critics.

When asked by Sharpton what he’d say to George Zimmerman if he had the opportunity to speak with him, given the verdict/situation, Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin said this:

·         “I would ask him did he have any regrets, did he realize he destroyed a life, he destroyed a family and that had he second guessed it, would he just stayed in the car.  Most certainly, I have no hatred towards him, but I would just like for him to look into my eyes and feel my hurt, feel my family`s pain.”

How he felt after they got the call with the news that George Zimmerman would be charged with second-degree murder:

·         Tracy Martin (father of Trayvon) said: “[I feel]Trayvon is looking down on us and saying thank you, Dad.”

·         Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon) said: “For the last 44 or 45 days, I have not felt peace…. maybe I will get a good night`s rest tonight.”

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CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: My colleague, the Rev.  Al Sharpton is with the parents of Trayvon Martin in Washington, D.C., right now -- Rev. Sharpton?

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you, Chris, and I`m sitting here at the Washington Convention Center with the parents of Trayvon Martin, and we just finished a press conference with Attorney Ben Crump after they spoke with the special prosecutor, who informed them that she was getting ready to announce to the world that she was, in fact, charging Mr. Zimmerman with murder two.  And I said at the press conference, and I`ll say it publicly, that I did not have a lot of faith in what would happen, but I believed it was the right thing to say that we need an arrest and see where it would go.  And it has crossed partisan lines and ended up with a very serious charge.  Let me start here with Attorney Crump, so people will understand, that he can face life in jail if he is convicted as charged on murder two, is that correct?

BEN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Yes, he can, and it is one of those situations where I think the minimum is 15 years if he is convicted.  So the judge will have some discretion there.  And I did want to say, Reverend Sharpton, it was Governor Scott and Pam Bondi, the attorney general, who weighed in first and then got the special prosecutor involved, as I share your sentiments that we were really concerned whether anything was going to happen, because they didn`t intend on arresting anybody when Tracy Martin called us.

SHARPTON:  Now let me go to the parents for a minute.  I think that what people need to have a sense of, Sybrina, is that you lost a son.  It was a movement toward an unjust ruling of no arrest for many of us when we got involved and wanted to just bring attention. But it was personal to you.  Forty-five days ago you lost your son.  As you listened to the prosecutor tonight tell you on the phone that she was in fact arresting the killer, after you heard the police say that he would not be arrested,  how did you feel as a mother?

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER:  I felt overwhelmed.  I was just glad for the first time that Zimmerman was going to be held accountable for what he has done to us as a family.  It not only took one life, but it affected all of our lives.  And I was just glad to know that at least he`ll be brought to justice.

SHARPTON:  You, Tracy, as a father, you told me a story about your son, Trayvon, had once saved your life, and you felt you owed it to him.  And you were overwhelmed when you heard the news as well.  But tell us as a father, and with that feeling that you wanted to do something for the son that had made it possible for you to keep living, how you felt tonight. Do you feel you`re closer to evening the score with what Trayvon did for you?

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER:  I feel that him saving my life and not being able to save his life, I can never even that score.  It`s very -- I was very emotional when I got the call, when we got the call from Ms. Corey.  But I feel that we`re putting a lot of pressure now, and that Trayvon is looking down on us and saying thank you, Dad.

SHARPTON:  One of the things that was impressive to me is when we first talked, and you were saying you were not trying to get revenge.  You started explaining to me that you worked for government, you`re very religious -- I`ve now been to your church, home church, and that you wanted no hate in this.  You said, Reverend, we don`t want any violence and no hate and we don`t even want any hate at Mr. Zimmerman.  We want to show what happened to our son.  And are you feeling now, since there has been no violence, and has been no -- on the side of all of the protests, all over the country, not only the ones with National Action Network, the kind of behavior that you wanted, how do you feel tonight in terms of the expectations you have of the people and how they behaved?

FULTON:  I feel at peace right now for a long time.  For the last 44 or 45 days, I have not felt peace.  But just to know he has been arrested gives me peace, just to know that people have not started being violent against one another or property or anything like that, it gives me peace.  So maybe I will get a good night`s rest tonight.

SHARPTON:  You said that you hadn`t had a good night`s rest since this happened.  You think tonight might be your first night to get a good night`s rest?

FULTON:  I`m going to keep my fingers crossed, I`m going to say my prayers before I go to bed, and hopefully I`ll get a good night`s rest tonight.

SHARPTON:  Let me ask you, Tracy, if you -- you heard tonight that Mr. Zimmerman is in custody, you said that you`re glad he is off the streets, but you`ve also said you didn`t want to have vengeance, you just wanted justice.  If you sit in a courtroom and see George Zimmerman, and had an opportunity to say something to him, as the father of the young man whose life he took, what would you say?

MARTIN:  I would ask him did he have any regrets, did he realize he destroyed a life, he destroyed a family and that had he second guessed it, would he just stayed in the car.  Most certainly, I have no hatred towards him, but I would just like for him to look into my eyes and feel my hurt, feel my family`s pain.  A seed has been taken away from us that can`t be given back to us, but at the same time, I just would want to know how he feels about taking our son`s life.

SHARPTON:  Before going back to the legal monitoring that we`re going to -- because he said we`re only on first base, this is not the end.  But you have Trayvon`s brother, and Trayvon`s brother is here with us at the convention.  He has been quietly around, but around everywhere, around you and trying to keep you guy strong, and it was him that Trayvon was going to give the iced tea and all. What have you been able to say to Trayvon`s brother and his siblings?  How do you explain to the younger members of the family to have the strength and civility that you had, I mean, that you`ve kept stressing we want justice, but we want to have peace at the same time, how do you get them to understand that?  It`s got to be hard.

FULTON:  A lot of things I didn`t hide from them.  When I cried, I wanted them to see my tears, because I wanted them to see that I was in pain, because I wanted them to see God bring me through this.  I did not have any answers as to why the person who shot and killed Trayvon had not been brought to justice.  I really didn`t have an answer for that.  But I just told them that we`re going to pray about it and we`re going to continue to pray.  And we`re going to continue to pray until we get justice.

SHARPTON:  And how as you, a father, talking to Trayvon`s brother and the relatives and those around his age that now have lost a brother or cousin, how do you make young people understand why you`re operating with such dignity?

MARTIN:  I just try to let his younger siblings know that he is -- he is not going to die in vain.  We`re not going to let his name go like that.  We`re going to protect the integrity of his name, our family name.  They knew Trayvon as a loving individual.  And it`s very hard for them to start dealing with the loss of him, but at the same time, they realize that we`re going to keep the movement going and keep his name going on and on, and they`re starting to cope with it a little bit better now.

SHARPTON:  Attorney Crump, the legal steps from here, is what happens?  He`s -- we`re told that Mr. Zimmerman is in custody, I believe, Prosecutor Corey said he is in custody in Florida, what happens next?

CRUMP:  Well, there`s going to be a bond hearing to determine whether he is going to be bonded out of jail.  There`s going to then be what we call first appearance, where he`ll be at an arraignment hearing, a plea of guilty or not guilty, and then the big crucial thing coming around to second base, Reverend Sharpton, is this "Stand Your Ground" hearing that is the law now here in Florida.  And the judge has a decision to make, based on his defense, if he accepts this defense, the judge can dismiss the case.  However, once the judge rejects that defense of "Stand Your Ground," then you get to third base and it`s what evidence can come in and so forth.  And then the home stretch is when you present it to the jury.  And it`s no easy stretch getting past that second base, but I feel confident once we get to third base, then we`re coming on home.

SHARPTON:  So the next big hurdle is to make sure a judge, based on "Stand Your Ground," does not dismiss the charges.

CRUMP:  That is it.  That is the big hurdle.  That`s why we have to look at this "Stand Your Ground" law really hard, Reverend Sharpton.  And I do want to say thank you publicly again, because you getting involved and so many other national leaders, Reverend Jackson, Reverend Bryant, so many people… brought attention.  We have seen what has happened with ALAC (ph) and the corporations saying we can`t stand for laws like this "Stand Your Ground" that will let an unarmed teenager be shot in cold blood, an armed vigilante who killed him not even be arrested, because that`s how bad that law is.  It has to be amended.  Trayvon`s legacy is going to mean a lot, but that`s one of the important things it has to mean.

SHARPTON:  Tracy, the Trayvon Martin law, which will deal with this "Stand Your Ground," we`re seeing people now, today, here in Washington, here at our convention and other places dealing with this law.  You, as parents, would both want to see the partly (ph) legacy of your son dealing with this law and the Trayvon Martin law would really deal with this whole "Stand Your Ground" situation?

FULTON:  Yes, we want to the support the cause.

MARTIN:  Most definitely.  We want to support the cause, and we want to see the law repealed.

SHARPTON:  Attorney Crump, the reputation of Ms. Corey is that she is tough.  And I was just hoping she`d be tough in the right way.  Do you expect her to come in and strongly present the case before the judge to get by a dismissal and then head into trial?

CRUMP:  I certainly do, Rev. Sharpton.  I expect it for a lot of reasons, for her integrity, I want her to be a tough, good prosecutor, but also because she knows the whole world is watching.  That`s the one thing, when you get a petition where over 2 million people sign it, those people have done something now.  So they`re engaged, and, you know, through your vast experience and stuff, be the hardest thing is getting people to stand up, it`s easy to stay silent.  I have to say this, everybody says when we get justice for Trayvon Martin, that`s will be our finest hour.  I disagree.  I think our finest hour was when Tracy Martin called, when nobody knew of Trayvon Martin, and you stood up for somebody who was unnamed, who the government said was unimportant, but you said this is what our education, our talents, this is what we`re trained up to do, to stand up for the least of ye, to stand up for good people. Trayvon was only a child, and if we don`t stand up for him, who will we stand up for?

SHARPTON:  Was there ever a time that you had doubt that you could get an arrest, that you could turn this around?

FULTON:  Initially, I did doubt, because I didn`t have much faith in the Sanford police department, so there was some doubt there, and then it was passed to the state attorney`s office.  There was a level of doubt there, but I guess once it got to Ms. Corey`s office, I felt a little more comfortable, even though she did not give us any information that would lead give us -- that would lead to an arrest, she never said that to us.  But I just had a good feeling about it once that -- once we met with her.  And I just prayed.  I just prayed every day, and I just leaned on God to lead the way.

SHARPTON:  And you, Tracy, did you ever feel that this was hopeless?  Did you ever feel that you were going to just try but you didn`t think it was going to go anywhere?

MARTIN:  Yes, after all the smearing of Trayvon`s name, and just -- there was a doubt in my mind.

SHARPTON:  How did you react when they started castigating -- he was coming up with stuff that was not true about your son.

MARTIN:  Yes, as a father, I just swore to my own integrity that I would not let them smear my son`s name, I wouldn`t let them assassinate his character.  And I think it was at that point when they actually started trying to smear his name, I just said, I have to just put everything that I have in my body to put forth the effort, to keep it going and not stopping until we get justice.  But there was a doubt when the Sanford police department had the case. Let me ask you this -- and I`m going to close on this.  I wanted to  ask you, Sybrina, as a mother, and I want to ask you, Tracy, as the father.  This case has received a lot of publicity.  Twenty, 30 years from now, what do you hope people will think when they hear your son, Trayvon Martin`s name?  What do you hope history will record him as and what his meaning would bring to this country?

FULTON:  I hope they remember that he was an unarmed teenager, he was a minor, and that he was shot and killed by an adult, and his parents fought to make sure that justice was served.  I also hope that the laws are changed under Trayvon Martin`s name, and that this does not happen to any other child or an adult.  I just hope that this also brings people closer together, and for people to stop looking at the outside of a person`s character and look at the inside.


MARTIN:  Twenty years from now I hope that the school systems can open the books and Trayvon`s picture is in there, and the heading is, "The kid that brought racial tension to a head, that made the world see that we can get along together, that made the world see that justice is for all."

SHARPTON:  As a lawyer, what do you hope his case will end up meaning, in terms of the whole fight for civil rights and equal justice under the law?

CRUMP:  I think you hit it on the head, Reverend Sharpton, equal justice under the law.  As the social engineers for change, we got to make sure that it`s equal justice for everybody.  It seems so conveniently easily that they were ready to sweep Sybrina and Tracy`s son under the rug, and just say nobody is going to be held accountable, like it didn`t even matter.  The legacy has to be that there can be no more Trayvon Martins, not on our watch, and we got to teach our children to stand up and pass the baton and say, yes, everybody matters.  Justice matters for everybody.  And that has to be the legacy.  And Reverend Sharpton, this Trayvon Martin law, we got to work on the "Stand Your Ground" law .  It is killing lot of innocent people.

SHARPTON:  well, I thank you Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Attorney Ben Crump.


SHARPTON:  -- back to you, Chris Matthews and HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much, Rev. Al Sharpton.  Well, there`s a lot of humanity in those interviews with the parents, especially.  Thank you so much for doing that. 

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