This is another work in progress(which means I will be adding and changing this blog or any other blog I do which states “work in progress” as time goes on) focusing mainly on Tracy Martin quotes but there is other contextual information added as well.
This was reported on April 3 but it’s important to understand how this was set up from the beginning.
FINDING BEN CRUMP
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton wanted George Zimmerman arrested. They believe he stalked their son because he was black, and they were outraged that Sanford police had accepted Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.
Lee, the police chief, would contend under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law that police could not arrest Zimmerman without evidence to contradict his story. Martin turned to Patricia Jones, his sister-in-law.
An attorney herself, she knew whom to call: Benjamin Crump, the state’s best-known civil rights attorney, based in Tallahassee. Crump and law partner Daryl Parks had previously gained renown representing the family of a black teenager who died in a boot-camp-style youth detention center in 2006, winning the boy’s family $7.2 million in damages from the state of Florida and Bay County.
On Tuesday, February 28, Crump was at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, about 125 miles north of Sanford, arguing that public records should be released in civil litigation over Antonio Cooks. Cooks, a black bail bondsman, had been shot and killed by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Jason Bailey while Cooks was serving a warrant and Bailey was responding to a burglary call.
During a break in the hearing, Crump noticed messages from Tyrone Williams, another attorney he knows, and Jones. They urgently asked for his help. Soon Jones put him in touch with Tracy Martin.
“I told him to believe in the system,” Crump said of that first call. “I really believed they were going to arrest Zimmerman. I said, ‘He’s a neighborhood watch person with a gun. Of course they are going to arrest him just for that.'” “Then 48 hours passed and they still hadn’t arrested him,” Crump said. “After that we just had to do what we had to do.”
He took the case pro bono. Realizing he needed a lawyer who knew Sanford and Seminole County, Crump turned to Natalie Jackson, a former Navy intelligence officer who founded the Women’s Trial Group, which specializes in cases for women and children. Her mother lives in Sanford.
Now Crump and Jackson needed a media strategy. On March 5, Jackson brought in Ryan Julison, a publicist who had worked with her on a number of high-profile cases. After speaking with Tracy Martin, Julison said he also took the job for free and went to work pitching the story to national media.
Crump knew from his experience on the boot-camp case that publicity could force officials to act, but it would require persuading two people who had never stood before a television camera to withstand the spotlight.
“I got on the phone with Tracy Martin and I told him, ‘It’s not going to be any fun, but this is the only way to find justice,'” Julison said. “You are going to have to bare your soul and express your emotions and your inner grief.” Martin and Fulton agreed. There was only one problem. At first, the media weren’t interested. Julison pitched the story to a long list of media contacts.
Eventually, on March 7, Reuters published a story titled “Family of Florida Boy Killed by Neighborhood Watch Seeks Arrest.” The next day, CBS News aired a segment on “This Morning,” and by 10 a.m. a crowd of reporters gathered at Natalie Jackson’s law office for a news conference with Ben Crump and Tracy Martin. A media firestorm had begun.
Julison said he focused the communications strategy on three central messages: an unarmed teenager killed by an armed man; the quest for justice; and how to avoid a similar situation in the future
That may have been what Julison said he was going to do but just look at what was actually done and you’ll see the truth of the matter. Paint George out to be a racist, appeal to black people’s fears of racial injustice in the Sanford police department and State Attorney’s office.
Since Trayvon… was black and Zimmerman is white, Crump said race is “the 600 pound elephant in the room.”
“They say they are still investigating,” Crump said. “I’m not sure what there is to investigate. What’s suspicious about this kid? That’s what the family is crying out, that our kid is like any other kid.”
“If Trayvon Martin had been the trigger man, he would have been arrested,” said his father.
It’s senseless and the police in Sanford isn’t (sic) giving any answers and we actually feel that justice hasn’t been served and isn’t being served.’
@0:27 “We don’t understand why the Sanford police department is sitting on their hands on this”
Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, said the family thinks her son was killed because he was black.
The family said it remains deeply skeptical that police are handling the investigation properly.
“Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton accused Sanford police of botching the investigation… They say the police department hasn’t arrested Zimmerman because he is white and their son was black.”
Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton said she thinks Sanford officials covering up the shooting.
“I think it’s profiling. They saw this young, black, African-American kid, but he didn’t commit a crime.”
“Why are they lying to this family,” asked Crump. “Why are they protecting George Zimmerman and why are they trying to cover up the murder of their child?”
“I don’t think they have any intention on arresting this white man for killing this black boy,” Crump said on Sharpton’s radio show Monday.
“It becomes racial because Zimmerman thought that black males with hoodies are criminals” -Natalie Jackson
“This family has no trust that this police department will do the right thing,” -Natalie Jackson.
“Had Trayvon been the person who was the triggerman, they would have arrested him from Day 1 and they wouldn’t have given him bail and he would be sitting in jail,” Mr. Crump said. “Zimmerman is free and sleeping in his own bed at night.”
Weeks later, the Feb. 26 incident has gained more national exposure. A hearing will be held Monday over the family’s demand that Zimmerman’s calls to police be made public. Questioning police tactics, they are asking Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene.
“It could be a blue wall of silence,” said attorney Natalie Jackson. Sanford police “have officially adopted this loose cannon neighborhood watch person. ‘You are my brother.”’
The family believes the Sanford Police feels an affinity to Zimmerman because of his devotion to law enforcement, something Chief Bill Lee vehemently denies.
“Police released the tapes the same day the teen’s relatives said the they are outraged that Zimmerman remains free.
“It’s surprising. It’s shocking,” said Tracy Martin, the victim’s father. “It lets me know that justice is just not being served here…”
“And to call Mr. Zimmerman the victim is a slap in the face to me and my family,” Martin opined. “It’s a slap in the face to our community.”
RAY SUAREZ: Martin’s parents have asked the FBI to investigate. They say their son was targeted because of the color of his skin. And they say the police are protecting the killer.
TRACY MARTIN, father of victim: I don’t think he would have even been followed if he was a white kid.
@21:01 of the video below Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! asks Martin family attorney Jasmine Rand, “What about the phone? How is it the police had it in their possession but they never figured out who he was for several days? That his body was not claimed, Trayvon’s body, for several days.” Jasmine Rand replies “I think it shows that the Sanford Police Department, um, either there was corruption or woeful ignorance on their behalf. They were calling the family after losing their child harassing the parents over his phone, wanting to get to his phone get in his phone and they had the phone in their possession the entire time. There are a lot of questions that I can’t answer because they don’t make sense”
“Following a meeting with Justice officials in Washington, Bonaparte and Triplett said they would await the findings of a wide-ranging Justice review, announced late Monday, before concluding whether the city acted appropriately in its initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman in the deadly February shooting.”
Tracy Martin said race played a role in the police investigation. “Had Trayvon been a white kid … Zimmerman would have been arrested,” he said.
Florida has appointed a new special prosecutor for the case. She and federal investigators were both in Sanford Friday.
“Does that give you more confidence?” Strassmann asked.
“It lets us know that there will be a thorough investigation and that we have somebody who is impartial and is going to do a good job,” said Sybrina Fulton.
Tracy Martin, the young man’s father, addressed the hearing Monday, accusing police of trying to “sweep another dead black male under the rug.”
@ 1:45 Tracy Martin
“I feel it was a cover up from the beginning. I feel that they’re hiding something. What is it they’re hiding I don’t know. Why they’re protecting him so much I have no idea.”
“They’ve killed my son…” – Sybrina Fulton
Who is “they”?
Angela Corey prays with the Martin family
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who represents another Florida district, said Martin was the victim of a “botched police investigation” and racial profiling, suggesting that the teenager was unfairly “hunted” by Zimmerman simply because he was black.
@1:52 “Whereas the Sanford Police Department had the chance to do the right thing and by all means they did otherwise. From day one the investigation was not taken seriously…I felt as though my child was just labeled as another black kid, just another murder, black kid, and we’re[SPD] just gonna tell the family what we want to tell them…” -Tracy Martin
@7:27 “Some people don’t quite get it”-Sybrina Fulton
@8:00 “Do you believe that Trayvon was killed because he was racially profiled?” “Yes we do.” Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin
It’s been reported that early in the investigation, the Sanford Police Department sought an arrest warrant from the Seminole County State Attorney’s office, and the request was refused. How did you react to that news?
“Just to know that the lead investigator felt that it was necessary to get a warrant for an arrest lets me know that, at that time, on site, there was enough evidence to make an arrest.” -Tracy Martin
Does that change any of your feelings about the case?
“Honestly, it worsens it. Because we wouldn’t have been put through so much grief, so much strain on our lives, had they just simply did the right thing.” -Tracy Martin
Last week, Florida’s governor appointed state attorney Angela Corey as a special prosecutor in the case. Do you have confidence in her?
“I have confidence until proven otherwise. I think my faith was broken a lot, by all the cover-ups that the Sanford Police Department had indeed placed upon us. So, in a certain aspect, that trust in the judicial system has definitely been lost.” -Tracy Martin
“We’ve been saying that from day one,” said Tracy Martin. “We know our kid’s voice. We knew that it’s the Sanford Police Department that’s in denial. Justice needs to be served.”
Lawyers for Martin’s family are preparing a formal request that the federal government also investigate the specific report that state attorney prosecutors interfered with a homicide detective who wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter.
“We are asking the Justice Department to investigate that,” attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been retained by the Martin family as it pressures authorities to arrest Zimmerman, told Reuters late Saturday. “We are concerned about interference in the investigation.”
“I have never seen a crime scene cleaned up so fast,” Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, told the Miami Herald.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton allege in a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Justice that State Attorney Norm Wolfinger met with the Sanford police chief within hours of the teen’s death and that together they overruled a detective’s recommendation that the shooter, George Zimmerman, be charged with manslaughter. The letter claims a lead investigator filed an affidavit stating that he didn’t find Zimmerman’s story credible.
FCN: Are you at all shocked that Mr. Zimmerman has not been arrested? What do you think this says about the U.S. justice system?
TM: Honestly, it’s terrifying that this man has yet to be arrested after outright killing our son. We all know that if Trayvon had been the triggerman and Zimmerman had been the victim, we would be visiting our son behind bars. Trayvon would not have been able to claim it was self-defense and he would have been arrested that very night.
Our son was racially profiled, murdered and he was taken away from us. This is outrageous. However, we know that this is the type of society we live in. A society governed by a flawed justice system. There are so many cases like this that many parents in this country have gone through and it has just been swept under the rug. But we can’t and will not stop fighting for justice for Trayvon. It’s painful and hurtful but I vowed to not let his death be in vain.
In response to the cancellation of the Grand Jury Crump responded in part “The[Martin] family has been patient throughout this process…”
Yeah, sure, clearly they have been very patient throughout, I mean just look at some of the quotes I’ve shown up to this point. How many news conferences and interviews have they done up to this point? How many conventions, rally’s and events did they attend? How many articles, TV shows, radio shows etc have let them and their attorneys speak unquestioned and unchallenged? Hundreds, everyday, since at least March 7. Oh yeah, that just reeks of patience.
“These attorneys continue to make irresponsible statement to the media. Not only have they spoken recklessly about racial issues, enflaming passions and reinforcing sterotypes…” -Natalie Jackson
Talk about a case of psychological projection, these people are absolute lunatics. Natalie Jackson, Benjamin Crump, Daryl Parks, Jasmine Rand, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton have hit every media outlet everyday “making irresponsible statements to the media”, “speaking recklessly about racial issues” “inflaming passions”, “reinforcing stereotypes” speaking recklessly about the investigation, police and state attorney, inspired violence in the name of Trayvon, inspired vengeance, hatred, etc, incite riots and on and on it goes.
MALVEAUX: And, Mr. Martin, are you — how confident are you that this one woman, this special prosecutor, is going to be the one to determine whether or not your son’s killer could potentially face charges and go to jail?
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON’S FATHER: I have strong — I have faith in her. It’s not only having faith in Miss Corey, we have strong faith in the Lord and all we can do is continue — all we do is continue to pray and ask that our Lord and Savior bring us through this in a peaceful manner. And we’re just asking for justice to be served.
“It was less than three weeks ago that we told those sweet parents…”