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Trayvon Martin's Parents: 'Still Shocked, Still in Disbelief'

By Melanie Batley   |   Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 10:05 AM

The parents of Trayvon Martin spoke Thursday about their "shock and disbelief" at the acquittal of George Zimmerman who was accused of murdering their 17-year-old son in what prosecutors described as a racially-motivated action.

"Still in shocked, still in disbelief. We felt in our hearts that we were going to get a conviction. We thought that the killer of our unarmed child was going to be convicted of the crime that he committed," Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, said on NBC's "Today Show."

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He said he disagreed with the jury's belief that race did not play a role in his son's murder.

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"Obviously any time you have a person that makes an assumption that a person is up to no good, there is some type of profiling going there. I think that if Trayvon had been white this never would have happened. Obviously race is playing some type of role," he said in the first broadcast interview that Trayvon's parents have given since a jury of six found Zimmerman innocent last Saturday of the boy's shooting death in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, had followed the black teenager as he walked through a neighborhood where he was staying. A confrontation ensued that resulted in Trayvon being shot in the chest and Zimmerman was later charged with second degree murder.

Tracy Martin said that while he has "nothing personal" to say to the jury, he continued to wonder, "How can you let the killer of an unarmed child go free? What would your verdict have been had it been your child?... I want them to put themselves into our shoes."

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, said she too has a hard time understanding how the jury came to its decision.

"I don't understand if they [the jury] were looking at it from Trayvon's point of view. He was a teenager. He was scared. He did run," said Sybrina Fulton.

She said she worries about the signal the acquittal sends to minority communities.

"It's sending a terrible message to other little black and brown boys that you can't walk fast, you can't walk slow. So what do they do? I mean how do you get home without people assuming you're doing something wrong? Trayvon wasn't doing anything wrong."

Asked whether their Christian faith enables them to forgive Zimmerman, Tracy Martin said, "I think that the forgiveness is like a healing process. Forgiveness takes time. The Bible says you have to forgive and forget but the healing process is a long process and forgiveness is a long process."

The couple said they would like the federal government to examine the case for possible civil rights violations, but in the meantime would focus their efforts on mentoring, community outreach, and advocating against "senseless" violence through the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

"We're trying to make sure that — even though we can't, that there's nothing we can say or do to get Trayvon back — maybe we can help someone else not lose their child," Martin said.

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