The Last Word | March 21, 2012
>>> right here on these steps with you guys rallying for justice. trayvon martin was yhuman. trayvon martin did matter. i just want new york to know that we're not going to stop until we get justice for trayvon.
>> we need this kind of support. our son was not committing any crime. our son is your son. i want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what's right. this is not about a black and white thing. this is about a right and wrong thing. justice for trayvon.
>> trayvon martin's parents speaking at a rally in new york tonight. with me now, goldie taylor, who was at that hoodie rally tonight and the host of make it plain, mark thompson . thank you both for joining me tonight. i had the hoodie on all day. at about 9:25 as i was heading down here, without even thinking about changing it, i realized, you know what? i feel like a prosecutor tonight. i better dress like a prosecutor. and -- and, you know, that's the way i'm feeling about it. i just want to get your reactions from what you heard so far. what you heard from mr. bonaparte, the city manager. he has the authority to fire this police chief right now tonight before he goes to bed. you've listened to him. he's approaching this very carefully. what do you think, goldie ? more carefully than he has to?
>> i think much more carefully than he has to. i think in this environment i certainly understand the abundance of caution on the one hand. but on the other, how much information do you need to understand that a police chief has lost his bond, his trust with the community? how much information do you need to understand that he's incable incapable of running this police department in an effective way and partnering with all of the communities who he's sworn to serve and protect. so i don't know how much information you need for that. at least there should be a suspension until -- until all of the facts are in. at the very least. he has enough information for that.
>> mark, what we learned in police work 30 years ago is community relations is as important as crime control.
>> and you cannot have crime control without community relations. you have a complete failure and breakdown of community relations in that community with this police department and that police chief . this is the kind of moment where no matter what kind of job he's done before, and we have plenty of evidence he hasn't done a great job before, but you've reached a point of this particular chief is now dysfunctional in that position.
>> i agree. and wesh reported tonight when they broke this story about the commission vote lines that if the city manager, mr. bonaparte, does not make a move, then he is somehow held accountable, i guess, under their charter for anything bill lee does from now on. i heard his very measured approach in speaking to you tonight. but i can't imagine, if that is true, if what wesh is reporting is true, i can't imagine why in the world he would want to risk his credibility or his job trying to be polite to bill lee . we know what's really gone on here and a move needs to be made.
>> let's remember what bill lee has said about this. by the way, the wallpaper of this show now is the stand your ground states. we just keep it on the wall. these are the states where you guys want to dress like that, your lives are in danger in those states. under the people who believe. remember, these stand your ground laws are the result of a political movement with supporters who believe that there isn't enough shooting and killing by civilians of suspicious people. that's why they want these laws. to be able to do this.
>> i think that's -- i think that's exactly right. but, you know, a lot of people have put this in a racial context. that when they passed this law in florida in 2005 , the opponents said this will allow or give license to racially motivated killings. and so here we are today.
>> by the way, those opponents included police chiefs. all of the states saying don't give these vigilantes these powers. don't do it. let us do this job.
>> absolutely. i raised my son in one of those 22 states. i got to tell you that, you know, i had dinner with him --
>> you live in one right now, georgia.
>> i live in one right now. i saw him for dinner this evening. i understood that he now lives, you know, at a very far distance from me. i'm not able to be with him. i'm not able to guide him directly. so when he comes in contact with police officers or other people of authority, he needs instruction. he needs to know how to comport himself so that he, you know, doesn't put himself really in harm's way. that's a conversation that we've had and that i'm going to tell you that every black parent i know has had with their sons. and so tonight when we went down to union square , everybody, you know, out wearing what we call hoodies or hooded sweatshirts, it was really about saying that we understand because we have sons, too. and so we understand what these parents are --
>> to go back to this police chief , last week, march 17th . it seems the heat on this case quadruples every day. so the difference between where bill lee thought he was on march 17th and where he knows he is tonight with a vote of no confidence from his city commission , he said this on march 17th . i'm sure if george zimmerman had the opportunity to relive sunday, february 26th , he'd probably do things differently. then here's the killer line. within that same phrasing. next sentence. i'm sure trayvon would, too. now, i've studied all of the evidence in this case. i have studied those 911 calls. i've studied these police reports. there is no evidence anywhere here to suggest that trayvon should have done anything different. anything different. and bill lee has all that evidence.
>> those who killed emmitt till , left him missing for three days, bill lee kept trayvon missing from his family for three days. not only did he say that, he also said, if you recall, i'm looked at unfairly. i'm paraphrasing. because i'm a white man in uniform. as if to invoke some type of sympathy or empathy from his situation.
>> like you won't believe me because i'm a white man in uniform. you know, there's plenty of historical reason for that. plenty.
>> right, right, right. so, again, i think it's a travesty that he's still in that position. and as long -- reverend sharpton and i were on the phone late last night. this is a meeting. we're on television. everybody knows that. certain stories have a shelf life . reverend sharpton and i agree, if they don't arrest george zimmerman any time soon, this story may overshadow every other store. mitt romney can't get the coverage he wants. the republicans can't get the coverage they want. this story may overshadow every story. it's a tribute to his honor, to his memory. white conservatives called my show tonight. mark, i'm a white conservative but i, too, am trayvon martin. everyone knows if you kill a lamb we will do nothing but utter his name forever.
>> this line he says in fl about i'm sure trayvon would, too, meaning do things differently, t too. goldie , there are a lot of people out there who think that. who think that, well, you know, he shouldn't have done this. he shouldn't have run if he did run. we're not even sure he did run. we have this evidence from his 16-year-old girlfriend on the phone with him saying i told him to run but he didn't want to run.
>> he's smart enough to know if i run this could be worse. i don't know what this guy's up to. this is a poisonous notion. this is a poisonous notion that bill lee advances that i'm sure trayvon would have done something differently, too.
>> it was meant to be just that. it was meant to poison the memory of trayvon. so that he could save his own position. i think that this is about protecting the sanford police department . it's been about that from day one. the night that trayvon martin was murdered, bill lee had no idea, no idea, that people around this country would take to social networks and speak out about it. he had no idea that that kind of furor would come right to his city commission tonight. he had no idea that he would be the subject of this national talk show tonight. he had no idea that people like al sharpton and mr. thompson here would be at his door asking real questions. and so he thought he could send home someone who had killed, shot in the chest, a 17-year-old innocent black teenager, that he could send him home that night and everybody could sleep well .
>> in the history of this territory, i've seen even more obscure cases rise to the level of bringing down a police commissioner. i wrote a book about a case in boston a long time ago that wasn't being covered at all. when that story, the power of that story finally got out in book form, it brought down the boston police commissioner. he was out of a job. it was a harder thing to do in those days without any of this kind of media help. this is not going to stop. that's sort of the message that has to be delivered to florida. it isn't going to stop. if you set some grand jury date for out here that doesn't mean we just all go cover romney between now and then.
>> it's not going to stop. i think too many eyes are on this entire process for this to die. and so not only are people looking for a more full investigation, whether that's at the state or the federal level , but they're looking for an arrest. now, no one has said, at least in this public square , that there should be a conviction. what we have said is, we want to see all of the facts. then let justice have her day in court. that's fair.
>> if -- if he had hit him with his car, he would have been arrested for vehicular manslaughter. if he killed him with his car. you put a bullet in him, and these police send you home with your gun loaded.
>> and they don't even drug or alcohol test him. do we know where he is? where is he?
>> he's in hiding.
>> where has he disappeared?
>> he isn't sleeping in a jail cell tonight. but i'll tell you what the real difference is here. it is the race of the victim. when you look at the stats, if you kill a nonwhite person, you are less likely to be charged. less likely to fwo go to trial. less likely to be convicted. and less likely to get a very severe sentence. if you kill, however, a white victim, that goes up by 11 times. and that is the difference in death row today. it is almost -- almost irrelevant. almost irrelevant that zimmerman is either white or hispanic or both. what is most relevant is the value that this society seems not to be able to place on the value of black lives. particularly on black men.
>> the question we have to ask ourselves, can we mature enough as a country to elect the first african- american president , and yet not protect our own children?
>> we are not there yet. mark thompson of sirius xm radio and goldie taylor, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
>>> we are going to turn to politics here at some point, i think. the romney campaign had a silly day of damage control after a romney aide said the stupidest thing said by any campaign aide this year. that's going to be next. and i