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March 28th, 2012
06:04 AM ET

Sneak peek: What to expect from Soledad O'Brien's town hall special "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America" airing Friday, March 30th at 8pm ET

Can justice be fair? Can justice be blind?

The killing of 17-year-old Florida high school student, Trayvon Martin, has captivated the nation. Over the last few weeks, we've brought you many angles of the story on "Starting Point."

We heard from Trayvon's parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, who said they just want justice for their son. We heard from special prosecutor Angela Corey, who said she would investigate every angle in the shooting. Soledad spoke with Rep. Corrine Brown, who says the Justice Department should investigate it as a hate crime.

She also spoke with Joe Oliver, friend of shooter George Zimmerman, who said his friend told him more details about the shooting and alluded to the gun 'going off,' maybe not intentionally. And we looked at the bigger conversation on race and perception in the U.S., and talked about the fear that black men face walking down the street every day.

Trayvon's death has created an undeniable and important dialogue in this country, and now Soledad will bring all these elements together in a town hall on Friday to look at where we go from here.

In the video above, Soledad previews her special "Beyond Trayvon: Race and Justice in America." The special will air Friday at 8pm Eastern on CNN.


Filed under: Race • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Lake County

    In this state you must prove the person you bring your gun out on has a weapon and is coming at you to fear for your life. Trayvon Martin had no weapon for Mr.Zimmerman to fear for his life. This was a murder

    April 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. sherry

    There is so much hate coming from this incident... however we need to be truly honest with ourselves as human being not white/black or any other color, creed, race and class. The fact is someone was killed and the person who did the killing has not been held accountable for his actions, be it murder or manslaughter he has been charged with absolutely nothing thus far.
    A human life is a human life and despite of what we may think more should have been done. In the state of Florida if you kill a dog you will be arrested immediately, however; what has happened a man killed another human and has walked without any consequence to his actions.
    Let us get off the white and black and look at the actions and what has happened and the way it is now affecting society as a WHOLE.

    April 1, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Race Bait

    Zimmerman is not white.
    Where is the racial profiling?
    Oh, how convenient it is to insert the hyphen when it counts against someone...pathetic.
    Soledad will never be fired because she would sue for discrimination, but in fact she is a sub par commentator that race baits and inserts racial elements to fit her narrative. She should just do porn. More would tune in.

    March 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ernie Alvarez

    We should be worried of what someone that has a gun is wearing. Are we suppose to wear uniforms for going to the store. What should someone wear to go out to take out the garbage. We should be wearing Kevlar shirts when you have some wanna be cop living out his childhood fantasy's.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bill

    This Trayvon issue was not a race issue until Al Sharpton stuck his nose in just because he teen was black. He is the racist that is stirring up all the trouble.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Keith

    Imagine what might have happened if Trayvon just kept walking, or perhaps called the police instead of confronting Zimmerman.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Victoria Phillips

    It's not the hoodie. It's the behavior. The police asked Zimmerman what Trayvon was wearing and he responded. 80% of the crimes that are committed are black against blacks. It's time that everyone does some soul searching and accept responsibility for their behavior and not the race.

    March 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Victoria Phillips

    Blacks want equality and they got it. 2 down and many more to go

    March 31, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Me in Fed Up, USA

    Apparently CNN somehow forgot to report on this one from Kansas:

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-03-04/news/31122324_1_white-boy-fire-tv-station

    Apparently the perps shouted "You get what you deserve, white boy" as they lit him up. Doesn't that constitute a hate crime? Where were those hypocritical low-lifes Sharpton and Jackson for this???

    March 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jay Kennedy

    Florida Statute – Justifiable Use of Force

    776.012 Use of force in defense of person – A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another …….

    Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, …… As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

    March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Eric

    It's ok. Even the former leader of the NAACP has said that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should be ashamed of themselves for race baiting. When the truth becomes fully publicized about who Trayvon Martin was and who George Zimmerman was – and the facts are laid down – these media members who are making this an issue of victimizing the black man will be held accountable.

    March 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eddie

    A couple of years back, after 4th of July fireworks, a family of 6 white people were surrounded by 50 black kids in hoodies and beaten to a bloody pulp. Nobody would get involved because of the hoodies scaring them. And of course the way hoodies stick together, nobody talked, so the 6 victims just had to take it. 2 of those victims that the brave BLACK hoodies beat up with sticks and other weapons were under age 7.

    Anything to say about that anti-white racists? Those animals that ganged up 50 against 6 (and 2 of the 6 were children) were black punks wearing hoodies.

    Your serve.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • allen

      why is it so many people are ready to convict a white man ...nobody has the facts but Mr.Zimmerman ...Travon .....here is a ideal how about we let the police the feds do their job before people convict him ... what the hell Mr.Zimmer defended himself and Travon did it... oh i see he is black so that makes it ok ....would we be seeing so much about this if the white person was the one dead?

      March 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kim

      I searched the internet and could not find the story of the family of six white people being beaten by 50 black people in hoodies. When you present a surreal story such as this one, you need proof of it happening. Can you provide more information? I believe we should not add fuel to the fire when dealing with the fine lines of racism, even if you feel as though the lines have not been crossed. No more pointing fingers at each other; I believe we as a nation have matured considerably over the past couple of centuries. Let the facts that will be presented during the trial speak for themselves and all the pointing fingers and name calling stay within for the time being. We can not afford to take steps back when we have come so far.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Eddie

    I wonder if you were to ask 100 white people about the fear THEY feel walking past a group of 6 black 20 somethings in hoodies?

    You folks don't seem to grasp that racism is a two way street.

    The shooter was on block watch. The kid did not live there. Block watch by definition responds to anything out of the ordinary. When the shooter asked the kid why he was there, was he making a black "you ain;t gonna aks ME why I am here!" statement by mouthing off? Could he not have simply said "No I don't live here but I am visiting my dad's girlfriend de jour" and went about his business?

    Blame whitey. Easy way out.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul Gooknuh

      you need help, education maybe.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike collins

      Ironic part is blacks are MORE fearful of other blacks than they are whites. I have a friend who just moved here from Nigeria who is much more critical of american blacks than I am. He is disgusted by them and never misses a chance to tell me how he feels.

      March 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • julia Brittian

      I wonder if you ask 100 black the fear they feel walking past 6 white , what their answer would be (KKK) they also would be fearful, nDo not judge until you been ther e done that.

      March 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TC

      Get "REAL" dude ..... We would not be dealing with any of this if Zimmerman had just followed the (instructions) from the Police Department. Who plainly told him "Not To Follow" the kid.
      But Zimmerman "diregarded" those instructions, and continued to follow and engage the kid.
      So in the opinon of a someone with "MORALS" ...... Zimmerman was "Clearly Looking For A Confrontation".

      March 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TC

      Eddie ...... Inquirering minds are curious as to what you would have done if you were in the EXACT same situation as Zimmerman?
      Would you have "Followed" the instructions from the PD-Dispatcher?
      Or would you have "Disregarded" the dispatcher and went for the Confrontation and then the .... "Shot"?
      Just incase you still don't get it Eddie, it's not just about RACE it's more about doing whats "MORALLY RITE".
      And as an adult Zimmerman had several choices to make, and he obviously chose to Disregard, Confront, and ultimately .... Kill.

      March 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • la

      Block watch mean when something out of the ordinary happen you CALL POLICE....but if your dad is a judge im sure you get some priviledge..

      March 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • missnationalstoptheviolence

      Black statement? You have to be kidding me. I know youth of all genders and races who might respond in that manner, as I know youth of all genders and races who may respond in another manner. To say that he was murdered for possibly not answering in the way YOU feel he should have is idiotic. It's even more idiotic and blatantly racist to say that such a "mouthing off" is a Black statement. Please evaluate yourself and talk multiple seats by other racists. Thank you.

      March 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. sam mcclure

    I wonder why nothing has come out about Zimmerman's parents they must be very influential, the kind of parents who would do anything to keep their son out of trouble even murder, the fact that so many things in Zimmermans past has been swept under the rug suggest that there is someone powerful supporting him.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • duh

      the dude is 28... what the heck do his parents have to do with it? their not keeping him from getting in trouble. the law there says he had the right to do what he did and evidence and witness supports what went down. was it right? probably not. but until ALL the facts come out he is hiding to avoid the current mentality is of a lynch mob. even a man with similar name had his phone number tweeted around and has received death threats.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elston B. Davis

      Daddy was a circuit court judge....all these guys are from the same bucket of s***. No police detective ever gets a call fro the local State Attorney except when the perpetrator is one of or related to one of their own!!

      March 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Charles W. Artis

    The hunter has become the hunted. This is poetic justice, Mr.Zimmerman, went looking for crime and he created it.
    He disobeyed the 911 dispatcher because these a**holes always get away. He took the responsibility upon himself to be policeman, jury, prosecutor and judge. And the law in Stanford, Fla. allows him to do this? What does the stand your ground law say?

    March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • allen

      talk about being judge and jury is that not what your doing ....were you there ? did you see what happen ? Did You???? a black young man beats the white man and he gets killed ...so we put the blame on the white man ...hes white so he to blame ... right ? If the white man had been killed and the black Hoodie teen was alive ...would you be screaming the same then???

      March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Its not about black and white anymore, watch out for the capitalism all dressed up in racism clothes. Few American are racist. The fact that one of the world's finest human-beings is now in the white house attest to that point. However, the vile capitalist have perfected their skills during slavery under cover of religion in the bible belt.
      America it would be wise to recognize the enemy before we go to war with each other. We need each other. If we were to work together and start again on "Main St. leaving the 1%er to defect to Dubai we will be just fine in a New America devoid of vile capitalism, unbridled racism and nepotism. Now that would be worth a "Thanksgiving".

      April 1, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Celeste Washington

    I have to speak out on the comments that Newt and Santorum made on the President's comment on the Tayvon Martin case; THESE TWO DID NOT HEAR THE SAME STATEMENTS THE WORLD HEARD their comments dictate this. The president was not trying to divide the world as these two non-hearing so-called candidates states, Mr. Obama was speaking from the heart as a father when he said if he had a son he would look like Tayvon – that's not division that's the beautiful truth. Now to Newt and Santorum the WORLD WAS DIVIDED BACK IN FEBRUARY GENTLEMAN; The president made his comments a few days ago – 3 to be exact. So please STOP TWISITNG THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS TO WHAT YOU WISH HE SAID BECAUSE HE DID NOT SAY WHAT YOU BOTH CAME ON NATIONWIDE TV AND SPEWED OUT! SHAME ON YOU BOTH BECAUSE YOU HAVE SHOWN HOW UTTERLY LOOSE YOUR TONGUES CAN BE WHEN SPEAKING FALSEHOODS!! IT MAKES ONE WONDER IF YOU WILL USE THE SAME TACTICS AND LOOSE TONGUES IN THE WHITEHOUSE WHEN YOUI GET THERE - IN 2015.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      Celeste you are as guilty as everyone else that jumped to conclutions in this case that this was just an innocent boy that was murdered by a racist. Now that the facts are coming out and there was an altercation between the 2 and Zimmerman was injured. Of course now all you people think this is all being made up to cover for Zimmerman. Nobody bothered to wait until the facts came out first. The cops let him go because he was in an obvious fight . The kid was an athlete over 6ft and weighed between 140 and 160 pounds against a man 5 ft 9 sand they are portraying this "Kid" as an innocent child.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Mike

        how much did the 5' 9" person weigh? Are you presenting a serious argument or being Republican-like?

        March 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      " Mr. Obama was speaking from the heart as a father when he said if he had a son he would look like Tayvon".

      Okay, first of all genius, his name is TRAYVON, not TAYVON. Pull your hoodie off your eyes and read.

      And could this be construed as Obama saying "We all look alike?"

      Take off your anti-white blinders, stop making statements like "If the kid was white" because those statements have no basis in fact. he was NOT white and you don't know what happened, what would have happened, or what is going to happen.

      How funny is it that black people refer to KKK people as "hood wearing racists", yet when white people say "hoodie wearing racists", the white people are wrong?

      March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • lady officer

        Eddie, you have no ideal what black men or young black guys have to live with because of the color of their skin and no white males will ever have the same problem that our black men do. I live and Florida and my kids have been question many times by the cops because they are walking the the streets and they don't know their faces it's not their job to stop some one because of their skin tone or because they don't know their face it's called racial profile.And yes this was on the street where my kids live and they was coming from the store. I belive that this is a free country.

        March 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You know those poor old people who Spike Lee tweeted out their address and who got harassed by member of the black community because they thought Zimmerman was there.....

      WELL THEY COULD HAVE BEEN MY GRANDPARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      EAT THAT!

      March 30, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • BRB

      Obama has a history of "speaking from the heart" before all the facts are in. Remember Skip Gates and James Crowley?

      March 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Celeste Washington

    Lastly, I am 71 years old now and my boys wore hoodies all the time and they would act "crazy" and just have stupid fun with their friends – you know just like white boys would do. Some of my boys’ friends were white and wanted them to have sleep overs at their house and as a black mother I would not allow it; I would always come up with some intelligent reason and tell the boys they were more than welcome to have sleep overs at our house. In private I told my boys that I know in my heart that your crazy personalities and practical jokes that you and your friends pull, although not dangerous, in a white neighborhood "you and your brother" would end up either in jail or dead and that's the truth. I always warned my boys not to show their beautiful personalities even in jest as it would be twisted into something ugly especially out of their neighborhood. Well, my boys are alive and well thank God!! And it is a sad day when a black mother has to warn her black sons to just about be a robot in a white neighborhood. I am just "broken" over this Tayvon Martin tragedy. My heart goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and I pray every day for Jusitce.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • pearland

      So what you are saying. Is that you taught your sons to be racists and that they can not trust anyone other than other black people. Perhaps you should have taught them to act right in public and they could have been their selves in any public situation. Great parenting.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dennnn

      Celeste, Unfortunately it is your exact attitude on both sides that allow this to happen.

      The African American ideal that you don't owe no white man nothing....including an explanation as to why you are trespassing on private property....and the white fear that every African American has a gun or a knife, so shoot first. It's not only the attitude of "white" that needs to change. The African American attitude towards "white", even when they are hispanic, needs to change.

      Honestly, when I walk down the street at night and come upon anyone with their hood up on their hoodie, I'm looking for an exit strategy. Not a gun, but a way to escape. You can't see the person and you can't divine their intensions. The hoodie, with the hood up and walking the walk is fashion, gangsta fashion. 17 year old boys like to prove their fashion mite as much as 17 year old fashionista girls like to prove their fashion snob. Neither is attractive.

      March 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elston B. Davis

      Thank you Ms. Washington. Your words have a painful ring of truth to them. You remind me of my own parents. What a sad world when black parents raised in years past have to tell their sons in the new world not to be too "out there" or they may end up dead. Sad!!

      March 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Celeste Washington

    I could be wrong; and I PRAY THAT I AM; but I just feel that the Governor's appointed team is set in place to calm people so Florida will not erupt in violence and that's it; I just cannot see - so far - if they are working towards THE JUSTICE THAT WAS DENIED Tayvon Martin. Well, PEOPLE domestic and abroad are watching this case and I hope that governing body remembers this. The whole world is wating to see how America takes an INJUSTICE and make sit JUST.

    March 28, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Celeste Washington

    As I listened to the 911 call to the police dispatcher it was so obvious that this man Zimmerman, was setting up a scenario for HIMSELF to JUSTIFY what he had planned to do to this kid. He planned to shoot this kid and his language; for example, "he's checking me out, he's up to no good, he's high on something, etc.," how on God's green earth does the dispatcher know that Zimmerman's words were the gospel truth; that call was akin to someone setting up an alibi before the commission of a crime and so far it's working!!

    March 28, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lavoun Williams

      Celeste you are so right! That guy was setting up his alibi during the 911 calls and all of his actions clearly show his intentions for a confrontation and ultimately a killing and folks are outraged because thus far he's getting away with it. His father is a former judge and he is so using the justice system and Florida gun laws to basically get away with murder.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Celeste Washington

    It is disgusting to me that since this Tayvon Martin incident has been in the media for so long that it gives great information to Zimmerman and his attorney to get a"beautfiul" story together for a defense. And whatever they both collaborate on and eventually it will be argued in court, that defense cannot ever be refuted because all evidence to refute it walked out of the police station that fatal night without being interviewed by the police, coupled with the greatest forensic evidence - the mans' clothes; and also a blood test to see if Zimmerman was under the influence of anything

    March 28, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael

      Alright people when have we ever made the rational that a person is a White Hispanic? I have never heard that in my life, they are either white, black, hispanic, chinese, etc? However, in this case in which the far left liberal african american activists want to portray this as a black/white racial hate crime. Can this guy Zimmerman qualify with the government as a Minoriy-Owned Business? I think so. So our own government classifies him as a minority. So this is a minority/minority hate crime at best. Its so much more sexier to say its racism and spark a media frenzy. If we are going to do this, then I dont think we have our first black president in Barack Obama. We have our first White/Black President. Oh wait the Al Sharptons of the world do not want to say that he is white, because it sounds so much better to say he is our first Black president. One other thing, what about the gang violence that happens everyday black on white homicides? Those happen much more frequently than what happened back in February or even Black on Black homicides. Is there still racism in this country? Absolutely.. Its not right and it should be taken care of, but lets get real people we do not live in the 1950's or 60s anymore.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • booboo

      I don't think so. Seems everyday the Zimmerman hole gets deeper. They're burying themselves.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Celeste Washington

    I have a question for Friday's forum with Ms. Soledad O'brien: Mr. Zimmerman stated he killed in self defense fearing for his life; well, Tayvon Martin feared for his life because he was being stalked; but he could not administer deadly force and turned to the only thing he had - HIS FISTS to protect himself not a GUN! Who speaks up and protects this young man's RIGHT TO LIVE AND STAND HIS GROUND.

    March 28, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse | Reply

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