The parents of Trayvon Martin expressed their strong displeasure with the verdict that found George Zimmerman not guilty of death of their son and spoke of their continued belief that federal civil rights charges are appropriate as the next chapter in their search for justice.
Speaking on CBS This Morning in Thursday, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin also took great pains to describe their teenage son as a normal, joyful young man who was not looking for trouble on the night he died in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida. In interviews after the verdict was announced, one of the jurors said that Trayvon appeared to have provoked an altercation with George Zimmerman, an event that led to the shooting.
“Trayvon was a fun-loving child. He was our child,” Martin said. “We miss him dearly. Just to have your child's life taken away from you like that, it hurts. And it's a process that will take a long time to start the recovery from.”
Similarly, Fulton said that her son was not a confrontation young man.
“So instead of placing the blame on the teenager, we need to place the blame on the responsible adult,” Fulton said. “There were two people involved. We had an adult that was chasing a kid, and we had a kid who I feel was afraid.”
Their lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said that the family is now exploring all legal actions, including asking the Department of Justice to look into pursuing civil rights violation charges against Zimmerman.
“We're asking the Department of Justice to answer that question for us,” Crump said. “Can a private citizen with a gun profile and follow our children home? The United States Supreme Court doesn't even allow the police to profile people based on race. So this is an issue that we need to know because we need to know what to tell our children.”
It was the first interview given by Fulton and Martin since the verdict was announced last Saturday night in Sanford. The two parents were not in the courtroom at the time the verdict was announced. Fulton said that the decision of the jurors stunned her.
“I was in a bit of shock,” she said. “I thought surely that he would be found guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter at the least. But I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody's son that was trying to get home.”
At one point, she was asked what action, if any, she would like President Obama to take in the matter.
“That's pretty tough,” she said. “At least investigate what happened. At least go through it with a fine-toothed comb and just make sure the T's were crossed and the I's were dotted. This is sending out a terrible message to young teenagers. Trayvon was walking too slow. So should they be walking too fast? You know, so I don't think teenagers at home know exactly what to do now.”
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(Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)