Jansing and Co | March 27, 2012
>>> parents will be on capitol hill at a briefing about racial profiling and hate crimes . they also spent the one-month anniversary of their son's death after details from a police report were leaked. zimmerman said he punched him and then slammed his head into the sidewalk. his parents confirmed he was staying with his dad after he was suspended from school after a baggy with marijuana residue was found on him.
>> even in death, they are still disrespecting my son. and i feel that that's a shame.
>> the only comment that i have right now is that they've killed my son, and now they're trying to kill his reputation.
>> i want to bring in florida state senator gary siplin and joanne reed. good morning to both of you. senator, let me start with you. what do you make of this new information?
>> well, as the mom said, they're trying to destroy his reputation. he wasn't caught with any type of drugs. in fact, as a state senator and vice chair of the educational appropriation committee, he shouldn't have been suspended in the first place. he's never been arrested. he's a good kid. his granddad is a police officer . so i think it's just an opportunity and an effort to smear his good reputation.
>> do you think, joanne, though, this changes the perception out there? i think clearly the broad public perception was that a wrong was done here, and does it make people step back at all? what are you hearing?
>> well, it depends on which side of this you're on, right? i was actually on a bus with some members of the palm beach urban league driving down towards sanford , up towards sanford yesterday when this news came out. we had the tv on in the bus, and there were visible groans. people were getting angry about the idea that this information is being put out. okay, he's a kid. you know, kid get in trouble every so often. the perception was this was an attempt by supporters of zimmerman to smear trayvon martin. on the other hand, i spoke to a gentleman from this area who is white who was bringing this up as mitigating factors for george zimmerman . when i asked him, if zimmerman didn't know that, how is that relevant? his sort of response was well, you know, this squeaky-clean image isn't true. so i think this is creating two camps. the people who want to believe george zimmerman are now looking askance at him.
>> where do you think this all stands right now? one, there's still calls for zimmerman to be arrested. that has not happened. there are calls for this strand-your-ground law which pr precipitated probably the way this law was handled to be changed or repealed. what do you see happening on both of those fronts?
>> well, there's going to be some effort over the next coming session to tweet the stand-your-ground administration.
>> without a doubt, you think?
>> without a doubt. there is a need for the law because a mother in texas was home alone with her 9-month-old baby. she called 911. and they said hey, in guy's breaking in. he's approaching my bedroom. what shall i do? the 911 operator said do whatever you have to do to protect you and your baby. she shot and killed that intruder. that's what the stand-your-ground law is all about. it's not for a common ground where zimmerman 's attorney may try to invoke that reservation. but i think clearly that the new prosecutor that i've asked for and the governor has appointed will eventually make an arrest so that we can get on with the process of making sure that mr. zimmerman has his day in court as well as trayvon martin's family, have their day in court to make sure there's justice in their son's untimely death.
>> is there a general consensus is that there will be an arrest in this case?
>> well, i think that people have no faith in the local police department to do anything, frankly. and it's out of their hands. it's in the hands of the state-appointed prosecutor. iny what i'm hearing is that the family feels like the best chance here is going to be for that prosecutor to bring a case. it will be a manslaughter case or something like that. there isn't as much hope now for a hate crime charge. that's not looking necessarily likely. but ha really people are focusing on is now the zimmerman story which i got to tell you, chris, it's difficult to make that story work when you actually look at the physical location where this took place. so i think it's going to be really interesting whether or not the prosecutors can gather enough evidence frankly at this point. a lot of the evidence walked away with george zimmerman meaning his clothing that he had on. and we really now just have his word and the word of the police that were on the scene after the shooting. but to make this story fit in the physical space where this confrontation took place, i've got to tell you, i think it's going to be tough. so this is going to be an interesting case will prosecutors can create a case out of what's left of the evidence.
>> that really is the question, isn't it, senator? can there be justice in this case when, you know, the way joy-ann put it is that so much of the evidence walked away when they made a decision right away that there was not going to be an arrest here.
>> you're absolutely right. the sanford police department which has been living on a plantation for black folks in sanford botched this tremendously. but i do think that sanford , florida, and surrounding areas is a powder keg . and if something is not done in the eyes of the people who live in and around sanford , there may be an explosion of a volcano very soon. i'm hoping that the prosecutor and her team will go down there and gather some evidence because we believe there is probable cause for an arrest.
>> senator gary siplin , thanks so much for being with us. always good to see you, joy-ann.