Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager, was shot dead by a “neighborhood watch” member as Trayvon was walking home from a convenience store. Trayvon was armed with nothing but a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. A few days ago, Alan Grayson was invited on national TV to discuss the tragedy. This is what he said:
ED SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. Breaking news in the Trayvon Martin case tonight: ABC News has obtained video of George Zimmerman being brought into the Police Department on the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
I am joined by Alan Grayson, former Florida Congressman, who is from the Orlando area. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. You have been at these rallies for Trayvon all week, and have been paying close attention to the case.
What are your impressions of this police house videotape that was obtained tonight?
ALAN GRAYSON: Well, I think it blows apart the Zimmerman argument that he was acting out of fear rather than out of hatred. But I’ll tell you, I sometimes wonder why people think that’s some kind of good defense. I don’t believe it in his case. I think if you call someone an “F’ing coon,” then you’re animated by nothing but hatred.
But still he seems to be operating under the illusion that if he simply says that he feared, then somehow that excuses the death of a young boy. It doesn’t. It just doesn’t. The boy is dead. If you do the crime, you’re going to have to do the time.
SCHULTZ: Do you believe that this videotape is inconsistent with the police report?
GRAYSON: Yes, I’ve read the police report. I saw the tape. And I think there is an inconsistency.
SCHULTZ: And what would you be thinking right now if you were representing the Martin family in this case?
GRAYSON: I think that this tape proves their point. Zimmerman should, under no circumstances, be allowed to have a gun. It should have been taken from him a long time ago. And he should have been arrested a long time ago.
He should be tried. And it looks to me like he’ll be convicted.
SCHULTZ: Alan, what do you make of the police report and the listing of the deceased as a John Doe? The timing of the report, when it was put together and then released? There are many more questions here than answers, are there not?
GRAYSON: I think so. But, honestly, I don’t find much fault in what the police did, except for the fact that [Zimmerman] hasn’t been arrested yet. Zimmerman should have been arrested. That’s the main fly in the ointment at this point. Nobody who does anything like that should be allowed to walk the streets.
SCHULTZ: Are you bothered by the casualness of this videotape and how one of the officers seems to be searching the pockets of George Zimmerman?
GRAYSON: It bothers me to see Zimmerman acting as if nothing had happened. He killed a 17-year-old boy. He stalked and killed a 17-year-old boy. And it’s appalling to me to see the kind of casualness that that video displays.
SCHULTZ: Do you know the state’s attorney, Wolfinger, who recommended that they not press charges and told the lead investigator at the time not to go down that road?
GRAYSON: No. It’s a terrible mistake. And the law really does not give them the excuse to do that. They’re referring to what’s known as the “Hold Your Ground” or “Stand Your Ground” law, which I often refer to as the “Shoot To Kill” law. That’s a law that led to a tripling – a tripling – in so-called “justifiable homicides” in Florida from the year that it was enacted all the way to the present.
It’s a bad law, but it does not apply to this situation. It does not apply to chasing after someone and shooting him in the chest.
SCHULTZ: Would that be hard to prove with the Stand Your Ground law as maybe something the Zimmerman team would use as a defense?
GRAYSON: Listen, juries figure out that sort of thing, and things way more complicated than that sort of thing, all the time. There’s no way that Zimmerman can possibly argue that he was simply standing his ground. That law was meant to apply to people who are in their homes, maybe people in their cars, not people who are literally chasing someone around the neighborhood and then killing him.
SCHULTZ: And what do you make of the right-wing smear campaign that has been fostered by some on the right that, you know, this kid was suspended from school and he was somewhat troublesome, in defense of the actions of George Zimmerman?
GRAYSON: I think it shows that many on the right wing have a taste of blood in their mouths. They kind of like the idea of vigilantism, and this is perfect case for them.
SCHULTZ: And the Stand Your Ground law, it went into effect in 2005. There have been 93 cases, 65 deaths. Do you sense that this is a turning point in this country that maybe these kinds of laws will be repealed? Or do you see more of them coming? Because we all know that ALEC, it’s well-reported that ALEC and also the NRA have been pushing these laws on legislative sessions around this country.
GRAYSON: I think it’s a turning point that’s far more profound than that. I think we have to stop hating each other. And we have to start cherishing our differences.
The very notion that you would feel fear or hatred towards a boy who you never met in your entire life simply because he’s black is appalling. I thought that we had moved past that. It was almost 50 years ago that Martin Luther King said that he hoped his children would be judged [by the content of their character], not by the color of their skin. And we’re still waiting for that time to come.
SCHULTZ: Alan Grayson, thank you for your time tonight here on THE ED SHOW. I appreciate it.
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