msnbc | March 28, 2012
>> everyone who is holding the legacy of trayvon and making sure that he did not, indeed, die in vain. i'd like to say thank you, and he's sadly missed, and we'll continue to fight for justice for him.
>> trayvon martin's parents on capitol hill yesterday attending a hate crimes forum to explore ways that the federal law can be used to prevent a repeat of the 17-year-old's fatal shooting. and this morning, passions are still running high on the house floor. listen to congressman bobby rush moments ago.
>> just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. the violence teaches us, mr. speaker --
>> the member will suspend --
>> these words --
>> the member will suspend --
>> these words --
>> the member --
>> -- what is good --
>> meantime, a dramatic new twist in the case over the last 24 hours . the " miami herald " reporting the lead homicide investigator on that scene that february night wanted to charge george zimmerman with manslaughter and applied for a warrant, but the states attorney held off until further review. meanwhile, zimmerman 's staunch defender has a story many think could be unraveling.
>> judging by your last answer, you're really just an acquaintan acquaintance.
>> well, close was not ever my term.
>> your role in this, joe, just doesn't make sense to me.
>> well, it just doesn't make sense -- i'll agree with you. my role in this, i agree. just doesn't make sense.
>> less than 24 hours on that grilling on "the last word," joe oliver , defender of george zimmerman joins me live in studio this morning. i've got to say, that was a rough interview last night with jonathan, lawrence o'donnell, charles blow. you were taken to task. i want to remind everybody just other parts of that interview.
>> i've been trying to contact george since shortly after this happened and i've been trying to contact him in order to offer my help because of my experience with the media.
>> joe, a lot of people wonder, why in the heck are you here continually taking media interviews after admitting last night that you really are just an acquaintance, you were work colleagues and you really don't know a lot about george zimmerman . why are you still doing this?
>> because i know enough about george to put myself in the cross-fire, because i'm an african-american male and i understand what the outrage is all about. i've gone on record also saying if i am wrong about this, i'll be at the front of the, you know, march. if i'm wrong about this, i'll put myself at the mercy of the court of public opinion. i don't understand what the point of that interview was. that has nothing to do with why we're having this discussion any i way. it had nothing to do with what happened between george and trayvon. and it is my belief in my heart in my soul, and the reason why i'm out here first and foremost, this was not a racial incident. this was a case of an individual who lived in that neighborhood who was concerned about his neighborhood security and he saw something suspicious and called it in. what happened after that was a horrible, horrible tragedy. no question about that.
>> as you say, it's not a racial incident, but there is the racial -- heard by many on the tape. to police. you yourself have said you heard the derogatory remark. the f'ing word on that tape. when they are suspicious of black and potentially call them a derogatory word on tape to police. how is this not a racial incident?
>> your question to me is a perfect example of the misinformation and half information being put out there. because i also said i played it several times and i heard a hard "c" and a hard "g." and after speaking with george this morning and asking him is that what he said? he told me he never ever said that and heard the recording that was played to him by the police department and neither of those words was on the recording that he heard. now, and this is the first i've heard about that. so your question is a perfect example of how we have gone off half cocked from the very beginning since it was first reported george was white when he's not. we're going off half-cocked. we're getting information about what happened out there. i understand the outrage, and if i didn't know george zimmerman i'd be out there, i'd have my hoodie on.
>> one thing we want to play is charles blow talking to you last night --
>> again, that interview had nothing to do with george and trayvon.
>> but it has everything to do about what you know about the man you're trying to defend because you weren't there at this shooting.
>> and neither was anyone else , and that's the problem.
>> and you're trying to defend a man that no one else is showing up to defend, not even his own parents have come out for an interview yet. take a listen to this.
>> if you don't know where george zimmerman is and if you have not seen him in over a month and you have been going out saying that george cannot stop crying, which you cannot verify because you were not there. you have been saying -- no, you have been saying that there are lacerations and his nose is broken and the only thing you know is what george may have told you because you were not there and you have not seen him for over a month. how do you know in your heart --
>> have you ever had a gut feeling ?
>> so this is a gut feeling ?
>> were you there? were you there?
>> so you've talked to george this morning.
>> i talked to george this morning.
>> you talked to george on saturday. you've spoken to him twice --
>> and again, wrong. i've spoken to him saturday -- i spoke to him on sunday --
>> you wouldn't reveal what --
>> saturday and sunday.
>> but you wouldn't reveal any of the information and that wasn't revealed last night in the information. it said you spoke to him on saturday and when lawrence asked what you discussed you said you wouldn't reveal that.
>> because --
>> so it didn't lend itself to any of the credibility -- because you won't reveal any of the conversations. now overnight since that interview you have now spoken to george zimmerman again and he's given you permission to reveal part of that conversation in reference to the police tape . is that what you're telling me today?
>> no, look, that part of the conversation just happened this morning. because my conversations with george have been to reassure myself that i ham doing the right thing. because this horrible incident has sparked the tinder, the wood that has been piling up for years because of our racial tensions here. that's why i'm stepping into it. two reasons, this was not a racial incident and because i am a black american .
>> why is no one else speaking out for george zimmerman ? just you?
>> because they're afraid. they're in hiding as much as george is, you know.
>> you say you're a friend or acquaintance or colleague, his friends and colleagues are in hiding?
>> his colleagues --
>> his acquaintances are hiding.
>> his colleagues cannot speak out because that would risk their jobs. that interview last night may have cost me my job.
>> why would that interview cost you your job? you've done i don't know how many interviews. why would that --
>> because it has nothing to do with my employer.
>> what does it have to do with then?
>> my employer is concerned, as well, because they need to keep their clients. and because, thomas, this whole thing, all of this, the one common denominator , the common denominator because of why george called in that first night, of why trayvon and george met together, of why george 's family and friends won't come out and speak, of why we can't about where we work is fear. it's become a denominator. there is security around my workplace right now.
>> i thought you weren't working now. i thought you left work. that's something you said last night on lawrence o'donnell. you've taken time off from work.
>> i have taken time off.
>> i went to work monday morning and i've had conversations with my employers and it was agreed that it would be best for the security of my co-workers that i take some time and i address this until i'm no longer a part of the story.
>> are you -- are you worried for your own safety?
>> because of the threats out there. there would vail ed there have been veiled threats coming to my employer for me. i know we're seeing this that more and more and more facts about the case are coming out and they're going to be revealed and the motive and what happened is getting clearer. there's a reason why it's taken so long for the investigators to release their information because they know just how volatile it's going to be when they come to the original conclusion that george was acting in self-defense.
>> we shall see how it all cracks out. joe oliver , thanks for taking time for us. we appreciate your insights in all of this. again, you don't want to be clarified as a close friend, but an acquaintance.
>> i have known george since he started dating his wife. i'm closer to his in-laws. i will clarify that. i will clarify that i know george well enough to put my own reputation and my own life on the line because i know george would do the same for me.
>> joe oliver , thank you, appreciate it.