Reverend Al Sharpton gives his take on the George Zimmerman verdict and let’s us know what is up next in getting justice for Trayvon Martin in his powerful interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Read the full interview below.
TOM JOYNER: Reverend Al, everything calm in the streets of New York? I read where you had a lot, there were a lot of demonstrations in New York and some arrests. Everything good?
REV. AL SHARPTON : There was demonstrations here and around the country, everything was nonviolent, let me say, mostly. And I think that a lot of the right-wing that predicted riots were just, again, giving the same image they tried to give Trayvon, like we’re just violent, reckless people.
There is a strategy to continue to put pressure on the system to bring justice to Trayvon. We said from the beginning that we wanted a trial and we wanted federal prosecution and a civil lawsuit. We lost a round, but we haven’t lost the fight. And now it is our intention to move on the, move on to Plan B to fight for the Justice Department to come in. Civil rights charges are appropriate here. Trayvon Martin had the right to go home. That’s a whole different trial than murder, self-defense. His civil rights were violated, just like …
TOM JOYNER: Because he had the right to go home.
REV. AL SHARPTON : He had the right to go home. He was not committing a crime, that was established even in this trial. He was not trespassing. This man was not even a policeman. So why did you interfere with his civil right to go home? Just like years ago with the Rodney King case. We lost in the local state trial in Simi Valley, just like we lost in Florida, came back in federal court and those police – these were policemen – were convicted. So we know what we’re doing and we want to continue to mobilize.
TOM JOYNER: Because he had the right to go home.
REV. AL SHARPTON : He had the right to go home. You must ask yourself right now, everyone listening to me, do you have the right to go home when you’re not committing a crime? And if someone interferes with that right, they’re interfering with your civil rights.
TOM JOYNER: With your civil rights.
REV. AL SHARPTON : And the federal government has an obligation to protect your civil rights, and anyone who interferes with that has criminally violated the federal law. That’s where we’re going. And last night after all the demonstrations we had a conference call with scores of ministers this Saturday.
We’re calling it Justice For Trayvon Martin Day. Over 100 cities will have vigils and rallies in front of their federal buildings, the federal courthouse, to show this is not a two or three day we are mad, we angry, we getting it off our chest. A week after the trial we’ll be in 100 cities, people can go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net and register their city if they want to join it, or see the cities that are there, but everyone from Reverend Freddie Haynes to you name it, Bishop McKissick, Reverend Akron in Chicago all were on the call and are going to lead us in their cities, and then we’re going to do the four week countdown to the March on Washington, and Martin Luther King, III and you and I are doing around Justice For Trayvon, and around the voter rights act. But we intend to continue to put the pressure on until we get a federal civil rights case. Let’s not act like we got in the Florida case because of the merits, we got there by rallying, by protesting and by raising the issue.
TOM JOYNER: That’s true. That’s right.
REV. AL SHARPTON : And we are going to do it this time. The Florida officials said that there wasn’t going to be a trail. Well, it was. What they’re telling you today; I don’t know if they’re going to get a civil rights trial. We will. And we will get a civil trial. And the other thing I’ll tell you, Tom, that’s going to be different in the civil trial is that in a civil case the family is suing George Zimmerman, Zimmerman will have to testify.
You cannot not testify in a civil trial. And when he gets on that stand I guarantee you there’s going to be new evidence that comes out which could also bolster a new prosecution. Because he will have to answer; why didn’t you listen when the dispatcher told you not to follow him? We don’t need you to do that. What do you mean by; they always get away and you didn’t want them to get away. They always get away with it? Who is they? And get away with what? This boy wasn’t doing anything. And who is they?
These questions were not raised in the state trial because he didn’t have to testify. He will have to testify in a civil trial, and he will have to answer this if the federal government comes in and the FBI questions him. Who is they? And what are we talking about; they get away with? What did Trayvon get away with? Trying to go home?
TOM JOYNER: And who is going to represent Trayvon’s family? Ben Crump?
REV. AL SHARPTON : Ben Crump. And not the prosecutor, Ben Crump would be the one that would interrogate George Zimmerman. So it’s not over. And we are going to make sure it’s not over. That’s why we’re calling on people to go to the nationalactionnetwork.net and organize in your city. I don’t care if it’s 20 people. We want to show the nation that over 100 cities a week later is still demanding justice. We’re not having a fit, we’re having a movement.
TOM JOYNER: You know, I think a lot of people have forgotten that the reason that there was a trial, as you just mentioned is because we demonstrated.
REV. AL SHARPTON : That’s right.
TOM JOYNER: Yeah, because this would’ve never gone to trial.
SYBIL WILKES: They weren’t going to charge him.
TOM JOYNER: They weren’t going to charge him.
SYBIL WILKES: They sent him home.
TOM JOYNER: If not for Reverend Al, us, others saying hey, there needs to be a trial, this is wrong. And remember, they fired the sheriff?
REV. AL SHARPTON : The local police chief. He announced that there was not going to be a trial.
REV. AL SHARPTON : When I first came on the airwaves and you said, let’s go with Reverend Al, we came because they had closed the case.
TOM JOYNER: Had closed it.
REV. AL SHARPTON : We got the case reopened. It was a special prosecutor, Corey, that brought this case. So people are talking about; well, I don’t know what this is going to do. What we watched the last several weeks was not the system correcting itself, it was the people correcting the system. Now we’ve got to finish the job.
TOM JOYNER: My blog today compares the Trayvon story to the Emmett Till story. That Trayvon’s story is the Emmett Till of this generation.
REV. AL SHARPTON : In many ways it is an appropriate blog that you wrote, because the reaction is you’re talking about two people that were killed. And the people that killed them we have to fight to bring to Justice. And the Till family had to fight many years. It’s ironic in July is where we celebrate Emmett Till and where we have this verdict on Trayvon Martin.