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March 11th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Justice and the Law: Florida teen killed by neighborhood watch captain

A Florida community in disbelief. An unarmed teenager is shot and killed by someone whose job it is to keep the neighborhood safe. And – what if you won $500,000 from the lottery and you were told it was a mistake. Don Lemon talks Justice and the Law with Attorney Holly Hughes.


Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Dedric Cohen

    It's a sad situation for the family.... I have no remorse for the perpetrator due to the fact that there was no intelligence used to determined his actions. After keeping watch and calling the officials on the alleged suspicious person, his job as a Neighborhood Watch Dog was completed. The next step for this guy was to simply wait for officials and give his observation of what was allegedly suspicious of the young man. Which leads me to believe that race is the factor also raises the question of the where abouts of the watchman at the time during the call to the 911 dispatcher. If Zimmerman was in a nutural location after being directed to wait for police officials then that would also lead me to believe that Zimmerman had more than enough time to just be vigilant not a "vigilante"..... Because of his poor decision-making, this young man's parents are forced to try to swallow the fact that their child was gunned down by not only a NRA Member but a person who is narrow minded when it comes to race relations.....

    March 13, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  2. Trevor Saxton

    The point of neighborhood watch is just that. To WATCH the neighborhood. Zimmerman should not of been carrying a gun, and he had no business even trying to stop the teen from doing anything. That's what the police are for.
    After he phoned the police, he should of left the teen alone. Maybe keep an eye on him until police arrive. He had no business pulling a gun, or even confronting the teen.

    The fact that hes still free is a sad example of the flawed justice system in America.

    Sincerely,
    Trevor Saxton 24, Medford OR.

    March 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  3. sanity

    So, let me get this straight- a man phones 911 to report a suspicious looking "man" and then pulls a gun, shoots and kills him? First, the kid looks every bit of 12 and what exactly is Zimmerman's definition of suspicious looking? Suppose, just suppose, I thought Zimmerman looked suspicious, can I pull the trigger and remain free? Something's not right here and I hope that justice prevails. What is this nation coming to?

    March 14, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  4. Rick

    This will set a wonderful precedent. Psychopath with a gun shoots you dead on the street, then falls backwards to his his head and then claims you attacked him, gets off scot-free.

    March 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  5. Brad

    So your telling me in Florida it is OK to kill someone and claim it was self defense and you will get away with it? as long as there are no witnesses? Someone has to be smarter than that, look at the evidence, the boy did not have weapon of any nature, he did not initiate the encounter, you do not have to be a Lawyer/Judge/Cop to figure this one out, this guy should at the very least be under House Arrest, because I dont see how hes not going to jail and he is a risk for flight.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Jen

    Zimmerman still killed the kid. he should be in jail for that even if he did act in "self defense"

    March 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  7. steve1534

    Florida law say the person has the right to stand their ground if they feel threatened. Because zimmerman called 911 & was advised to stand down which means to cease & halt your actions, now that law is therefore negated. That same law now applies to trayvon martin because he is now being approached, & pursued by a strange man at night with a gun. His life is now in danger and has the right to stand his ground. So if self defense is the case it would apply to trayvon martin not zimmerman because zimmerman was the agressor in pursuit of trayvon. Hope this helps

    March 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  8. anthony

    the perfect murder thats the bottom line

    March 16, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  9. letitia butler

    If the justice system lets this zimmerman guy off. Remember what happened to John Gotti neighbor who accidently ran over his son in the driveway? He disappeared. Well this was no accident and this guy needs to disappear. He shouldn't get away with murder.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  10. Stefan

    It's been said but.. reverse the roles. If it wasn't a young black male who was gunned down, but if he did the gunning. Do you think 'self defense' would keep him out of jail?

    This police department is just... stupid. How can they think this behavior will go unnoticed? This is so ridiculous you almost have to assume it gets corrected. I don't have a lot of faith in the justice system, but this is just mind boggling.

    If that was my son, Zimmerman would need to be arrested for his own protection.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  11. Biggunsar

    first off, if the kid is so innocent. WHY was there a physical altercation.

    I know at that age, if an adult told me to stop. I would stop. Ask him to call my parents. Voila.

    But instead we got this kid attacking the adult. So, the shooting was justified. How do we know that this kid, who played football isn't strong enough to break this guys neck.

    End of story.

    March 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  12. Madison Paige

    Biggunsar, what you are saying does not make since. This young man was minding his own business and this psycho started following him. Although, the cops told this psycho not to interfer, he still took it upon himself to try to play supercop and ended this young man.s life. So, I don't care how strong this young man could have been, this psycho was still told to stay put!

    March 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  13. tony

    and what if some nut tills the kid to stop and they are found dead in the woods?

    Biggunsar

    first off, if the kid is so innocent. WHY was there a physical altercation.

    I know at that age, if an adult told me to stop. I would stop. Ask him to call my parents. Voila.

    But instead we got this kid attacking the adult. So, the shooting was justified. How do we know that this kid, who played football isn't strong enough to break this guys neck.

    End of story.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  14. James A. Ritchie

    This case does seem to go beyond self-defense, but the commentator here is completely wrong when she talks about equal force. The law simply states that a person may use force force if he has reason to believe he is at risk of serious bodily injury or death. An unarmed man can cause serious bodily injury, and can easily cripple or kill you.

    It also allows lethal force in protection of property, which dispels the "equal force" argument.

    CNN should actually try reading the law, and looking at past cases, before babbling such nonsense. These really were incredibly stupid, erroneous, and biased comments.

    This does seem like a borderline case at best, but this was not a child. Seventeen is old enough to cause serious bodily injury, old enough to cripple, old enough to kill.

    Zimmerman should not have followed him, should not have confronted him, but doing either is not illegal, even though the police advised him not to follow. We need answers here, but Zimmerman should not be prosecuted out of outrage, should not be charged because of notion that this was a child only going to the store. He may well have been attacked when he confronted Martin.

    He should have been able to handle it without use of deadly force, but it's hardly cut and dried. Those who think it is must have very little real world experience, and must also watch very little news.

    What people should be after here is the truth, and CNN seems unaware that truth and onion, truth and outrage, are very different things.

    It's a heartbreaking case, but it would be equally wrong if Zimmerman goes to trial, and to prison, not because of what he did, but because of the public's perception and outrage. CNN should study the law, not try to make it, and certainly shouldn't be issuing statements such as they are when they don't even know the law on self-defense.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  15. Gypsy71

    James, in the state of Florida there was such a case were a man shot a man that was armed with only a garden hose. He was convicted based on the equal force law. (Seriously, have you never heard the saying "don't bring a knife to a gunfight." The 911 calls reveal a lot of contridiction on Zimmerman behalf. It was raining that's why the Tayvon had on a hoody. (He looked suspicious, hand in waistband, hoody, he's running.) The entire conversation sounds like Zimmerman was over exxagerating and creating the stereotype of a black man. He even used he's black a few times.

    He's guilty of playing cop and taking matters into his own hands. Which led to a young man losing his life. That's cold blooded murder. Keep in mind he said he was being attack, but we now know that was Trayvon screaming "Help Me!" Zimmerman then caused his own wounds to cover up what he did.

    If we are after justice, we have to stop making excuses for cold blooded killers.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  16. aaron

    @ james ritchie

    the neighborhood watch is supposed to observe and report, and no he did not have a right to pursue this KID, im 32 i look at any one who hasnt had time enough to mature into adulthood as a child. the fact that this kid had so many years ahead of him makes us all call him a child. zimmerman is 240 pounds and over 6 feet tall. this child could hardly have snapped his neck, possible yeah, but not likely. listen to the 911 tapes, you can hear the child calling for his mommy hardly the reactions of a adult. if any one had a write to defend himself it was the child and if he would have beat the guy to death it would have been self defense the fact is the kid did nothing wrong he has a right to walk down the street without being chased, and no he has to answer to no one, he did nothing wrong. the fact that you will go as far to defend this guy does make me think your a racist. maybe you should analyze yourself, you just acted like this guys defense attorney while trying to sound impartial, while u find yourself leave us rational people alone to are discussion, and innocent man is dead, and im sorry i dont like to play the race card really i dont but it is clear when people ignore so much to justify somthing so horrible. zimmerman had no wright to ask this child any thing and i teach my kids not to talk to strangers what makes any one think he should have answered to an adult who is a stranger to him. youll use any excuse you can so you dont have to admit racism exist. well sir it does and you might just be one of em, I can respect a skin head at least he is hones, but the rest a scum

    March 18, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  17. Jesse

    Biggunsar. Exactly. Because we all tell our children if a strange man comes up to you with a gun you should stop and have a nice little chat with him and Voila you more than likely will end up kidnapped or dead.

    March 18, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  18. Aquaria

    ::::This case does seem to go beyond self-defense, but the commentator here is completely wrong when she talks about equal force.

    Delusion.

    This prosecutor is 100% RIGHT.. Equivalent force is established llegal precedent and case law. You can't shoot somebody if they hit you with, say, a garden hose. By the way, what did this kid use to defend himself against a gun? The Skittles? Be serious.

    :::The law simply states that a person may use force force if he has reason to believe he is at risk of serious bodily injury or death. An unarmed man can cause serious bodily injury, and can easily cripple or kill you.:::

    So why aren't you establishing that anything Trayvon might have done to this wannabe cop wasn't in self defense, force to greater force to defend himself? Have you thought this through at all?

    I'll walk you through this, very slowly, since you don't seem capable of grasping things with your dummy blinders on:

    Remember who was running away. That would be Trayvon. Remember who was chasing. That would be Zimmerman. Remember who was unarmed: Travyvon. And remember who had the gun. Zimmerman. Just who do you think was the most frightened in that scenario, and was the most fearful of being the victim of imminent violence? What do you think it meant when Trayvon–according to ZIMMERMAN–was running away? And why at that point did ZImmerman proceed to follow him despite instructions to stand down and let the police handle the matter?

    Just who do you think had the airtight case for self defense? And just how was an unarmed teenager 100 pounds lighter than Zimmerman equal to a gun?

    Amuse me by explaining how it was the guy WITH A GUN chasing a black teenager who was RUNNING AWAY FROM HIM who was acting in self defense.

    Come on. Explain it.

    ::::He should have been able to handle it without use of deadly force, but it's hardly cut and dried. Those who think it is must have very little real world experience, and must also watch very little news.:::

    Real world experience says that if you are being pursued by someone with a gun, you are likely to be killed BY THE PERSON WITH THE GUN.

    Anything else is just too stupid to consider.

    So it's you who is denying the reality that a sociopath shot an UNARMED MINOR who he had been told not to follow. He chased this unarmed kid when he was running away. Once he followed, with a gun that he was using illegally (a felony in FL), Zimmerman was guilty of assault.

    If you try the blame the victim card of "why did he run, then"? Well, gee, why would Trayvon Martin run? Other than having a clear signal that he was in imminent danger. Have you heard of pedophiles? Or muggers? Or murderers?

    I mean, would you just stand there if a creepy old 240-pound man had been following you and a gun appeared? Or would you run, like Trayvon did? It's not like ZIMMMERMAN HIMSELF didn't tell us that the kid ran. We have the 911 call with him saying the kid was running away, and then he made a remark of intent about how black people "always get away".

    At the point that Zimmerman was told to back down, he needed to let the police handle the situation–like he was INSTRUCTED TO DO. He didn't. Everything starts with his racist presumptions about a black kid, and then his stupidity in not backing down when he was supposed to. He pursued an unarmed minor with a gun, and Trayvon Martin is now dead. Not the guy with the gun.

    Are you getting it?

    March 18, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  19. Stewart Bonner

    Why is a Neighborhood Watch guy armed? It is suppose to be a watch function not a summary execution squad.

    March 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  20. shocked

    This story was shocking to begin with but I became even more enraged and saddened after hearing the 911 call from a neighbor that includes Trayvon's cries for help followed by gun shots.

    Biggunsar, if Trayvon was attacking and overpowering the officer, why is Trayvon the one screaming for help?

    March 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  21. klangster

    Zimmerman was following the kid he confronted him and started a fight if he got hit that's his fault. Biggunsar the "adult" did not have the authority to tell the kid to stop and it is illegal to try to make him this did not occur on Zimmerman's property. you can tell from the 911 tape that Zimmerman was the aggressor so the out come is all his fault he should be executed

    March 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  22. klangster

    james ritchie if I see some one on the street it is not legal for me to physically apprehend them that could be considered false imprisonment or kidnapping, and if this paranoid psycho got a little beat up while starting a fight with an innocent kid on his way home that does not give him the right to shoot him. This guy has a history of hundreds of 911 calls he is clearly not right in the head and any one who defends him is a racist.

    March 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  23. Blount

    I wonder what we as Americans have come to. when we treat our children like criminals just because of what they appear to be your our minds. if this is the norm, then all of our children are in trouble. to persue someone becuase you are a watchman is plain wrong. The young man died because an irresponsible adult saw fit to play police officer instead of watchmen. I doubt that this watchman cried for help at 28 years old with a 9mm weapon. I dougt that this young man had any itensions of attacking another man almost twice his size with no motive or reason.
    I don't see this as much a racial issue as I do an issue of overreaction and stupidity on Zimmermans part as well as the Sanford Police Department.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  24. Blount

    The Chief of Police and his investigator's really need to go back to school and learn how to do their job. Even if they think this was a self defence issue, the circumstances warrent more review and the shooter should at least be on house arrest pending further investigation. come on, a young man dead in the streets, his pockets have candy and a ban of ice tea. somthing is terribly wrong and the police know that if it were their kid, they would have the entire force purseing the shooter or have him in jail pending further investigation.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  25. Chris Synfield

    If that was my child killed, they wouldn't be able to identify Zimmerman with dental records. Why he isn't in jail right now says all I need to know about that city, that state. A decent young man dead for no reason other than Mr. Zimmerman needing to bag a black kid so he could feel like a man at the next Klan rally. I read a comment where someone said "oh, yeah, they put up the most innocent looking picture of this kid....". Few parents get photos of their children committing crimes unless they appear on the 7/11 security cam. I guess they didn't have a decent shot of the kid shooting nuns or getting into a bar room brawl.

    March 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  26. Shannon

    After hearing the 911 calls I would like to know the word he used when Zimmerman stated "These ***** always get away". This man was instructed not to follow Martin, but he did. Martin was probably afraid and running away and gets shot and killed and the police, pat him on the back and send him on his way. This is not what community-oriented policing is about. What are you telling others in the community? That they can take the law into their own hands if someone looks suspicious? This needs to be taken care of before others decide to do the same thing.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  27. Mary K

    Biggunsar, wow you are so misinformed, listen to the 911 tapes.

    All, Zimmerman called Trevor an explicit name at the beginning of the call and anyone would know Zimmerman was on something and it was not baby formula. Look at the body structure of this youngman and compare it to Zimmerman. The only reason Zimmerman was fearful was because of his altered state of mind. What I'd like to know is why there was such a delay in the police arriving. Could it be related to Zimmerman calling the boy the explicit word? Something ain't right with this whole picture.

    My prayers are with the family and may Trevor RIP
    Justice Dept. Please move swift on this one, there needs to be a resolution quickly. We have teens killing daily and if there is no justice with this situation the senseless killing will never end. Please approach this aggressively

    March 20, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  28. Theresa Mc

    Let it be known, that racism is alive and well in America. The CHILD was coming home from a Seven Eleven after purchasing candy ( as children do, and a can of ice tea). In listening to the 911 call, Mr. Zimmerman reported there was there was a suspicious person who had" something in his waistband, and oh... he's a black man". The fact that he emphasized that he was a " black man" stated it all. Being African American do not immediately place a violent, aggressive or angry tag around your neck. If you listen to the second 911 call you will hear the CHILD yelling for help. He was attacked, by a 28 year old, whose appearance was stocky (obses). In viewing the photo of Mr. Zimmerman, he looks aggressive, angry and his actions prove, he is violent towards non wihite individuals. By saying the CHILD was Black, justified his actions, and the police never held him on 1st degree murder. His actions do not constitute manslaugter, because his intent was to kill, he carried a weapon with that intend and refused to adhere to the command of the police to not act. I as a African American, thought about purchasing property in Florida, but I will not because this shows me Florida is a racist state with Red Neck laws. My successful sons will never be murdered in the streets of Florida because they are black. My community need to protest this injustice, and assure that justice prevail. Not only do Mr. Zimmerman need to be charged.

    March 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  29. Manou

    who is this racist that came out defending zimmerman this morning on CNN newsroom even though he has not talked to the murderer since it happened. He is part of the problem. His whole intervention was a racist statement

    March 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  30. Az

    Biggunsar is a racist white man stuck I'm his ways he better stay in Florida cause if he comes to Philly talking like that he would be on the front paper with a hole in his face

    March 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  31. Florencio Mendiola Jr.

    If it had been me who was responding to that police call I would have arrested the armed man for murder. He shot an unarmed person. Many states employ "stand your ground" laws that do not require an individual to retreat and allow one to match force for force but in this case "Deadly Froce" was used against an unarmed young black male. The forced used went beyond what "stand your ground" law allows, in this case "excessive deadly force" was used. He could have drop down several levels of force considering the young black male had absolutely nothing that could be used as a "deadly weapon." In my professioal opinion this was an outright killing (murder) of another human being using "deadly force" when it was not warranted. In other words, "Grossly Misused of Deadly Force" the police officers at the crime scene should have arrested him for shooting an unarmed person. The "stand your ground" law allows the used of equal force not excessive force. The states pass laws without realizing the consequences of those new laws. This particular law has been misunderstood by those who wish to use it in their defense to justify their killing of another human being. If a police officer in the State of Florida do not understand the definition of "stand your ground" law they should get out of law enforcement because those officers are compounding the investigative process and making life difficult for good cops trying to do a good job. I would have "fired" those police officers who responded to the crime scene for acting "gross incompetence." The police should have charged the white guy with homicide. The FBI should charge him with both criminal and civil laws. Actually, he can be charged by both State and Federal laws since he broke both laws.

    March 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  32. bridget jai

    i think it's a sad day when it's 2012 and your skin is still your sin.The south is and always has been a embarassment to the untied states actually the united states is an embrassment to itself we're still living in a society where color is the first thing we notice,we so often harp on first impressions and that is what caused this tragedy,someone saw this young man and sumed him up as a burglar,a theft,a menace to society&dope pusher when actuality he was a youth having a visit with his father.The police department was grossly negligent in handling this case by far they did a terrible misjustice to this family as well as socity as a whole because it stired up so much racial tension through out this already troubled country white america constantly says "get over" but how does one just get over it when something of this magnitude happens.This case was handled like it was lesser of an offense then a cock fight,like they caught someone fighting chickens this was a youth a 17yr, old unarmed youth on a visit with his father.As I stated earlier it's 2012 and your is still your sin in america.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  33. Darlene

    Don, Just hearing your discussion with Rep Lewis, I was again imrpessed and of course concerned about what has happened. I agree Justice detalyed is justice denied. As a white woman growing up in the fifties and sixties, I marched, I walked, I went to work in rural MS. I worked with immigrant rights risking jail time. I am now living in NC and don't know how to explain to the black pastors using the bible to urge their congregations to vote for Amendment 1 which will take away additional rights for the LGBT community. Don't they understand that the bible was used to justify their oppression? used against interracial marriage? The Hate Crime law comes after the killing of Matt Shepard because he was gay. Help?!!

    March 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  34. clemen

    Enough with all the talk. Put the killer in jail. put the people who should have put the killer in jail, in jail too. Sue the city for not handling the case right from the beginning. or allow teenagers to carry guns also.

    March 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  35. Audrey Booker

    Audrey Booker

    Don kuddos to you for covering this story. My heart goes out to Trayvon's family. It's unfortunate that this law is being used as a convenient way to kill "just because they don't like the way a person looks or act". It's obvious that Zimmermann intended to kill this young boy because he pursued him after the 911 dispatcher advised not to. Did it ever occur to police that this young defenseless boy probably tried to fight back with his attacker despited his cry for help. The only weapon he had was that tea can he bought from the store and may have used it as his defense but to avail which would explain the so-called blood on Zimmerman. Trayvon probably fought scratch or whatever for his life. This is so sad...all I can do is shake my head in AWE............., I have brothers that have been victims of racial profiling, fortunately, it didnt lead to death....I'll never forget when I was visiting down in my home town in my early 30's and since I had moved away...I was making blocks in the community just to see how the neighborhoods changed. I happened to be riding in the white neighborhood...and was stopped by a white officer whose only reason he stopped me was because quote " it was unusual for me to be riding in this neighborhood this time of night.keep in mind that in small towns.....(they pretty much know familiar cars and faces)......as to imply because of my color I may have been up to something....after he ran a check on me and I was clean... he let me go...I really bit my tongue because I know in small towns especially when that "Jim Crow" mentallity still existed...and racial profiling was the norm and the law enforcement at that time stuck together within that county...........so I knew from what other black folks had gone through in my community that they"" could make you or break you........do whatever they pleased..........Im in my 50's now and do go home frequently and I must say it has gotten better.....but if you go uptown to do business in stores,banks....to name a few...that aspect hadn't changed.....it's defi

    March 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  36. bruce

    fight "assassination" from "stand your ground" laws Under this law I an take a gun into a biker bar and insult a gang and then when they approach me I can pull out a gun and kill them all in the name of self defense, standing my ground. People who are afraid get guns thinking this will equalize the balance of power and fear until it gets scary. People who feel frustrated get guns and then confront the object of their frustration resulting in frightening situations where they can pull out a gun. This is inciting violence with a nuclear option. They should not be carrying guns. Please fight this insanity

    March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  37. Khona

    That's a quick-witted answer to a dififclut question

    March 24, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  38. John

    t is a mighty good thing that our justice system does a good job of ignoring pressure from self promoters like Al Sharpton, and the press, which prejudges everyone. African Americans, of all people, should understand that lynching someone "everybody knows is guilty" usually leads to tragedy. It is no less true when the shooter is Hispanic and the victim is black. I have been practicing law for 34 years. I have no idea whether Mr. Zimmerman murdered this young man, but I do know it is necessary to let the authorities properly investigate and determine whether they can prove his guilt. It is absurd to be constantly railing for "justice" when none of us have a clue what happened that night. CNN promotes this discord because it creates viewership and money, not because it is seeking the truth. If they wanted the truth, they would shut up and let the authorities do their job. Creating a firestorm when there is no proof to support it is not only unprofessional, it is dangerous.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  39. Ruth

    This is about unqualified persons running around with guns under the guise of Neighborhood Watch. This has to stop!!!

    March 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  40. Debby

    Nothing justifies this murder but I really believe we should be teaching our children (both boys and girls) how important our appearance is. A hoodie worn up looks scarey no matter what color is wearing it. Look at the picture of Trayvon with the hoodie and then compare it to the picture with the ski cap on. Don Lemon can tell you the way you dress determines the respect you get. Most women can tell you the same thing. Why not teach our kids this while they're young so they go further as adults.

    March 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  41. Millie

    I still don't understand how this can be self defends when he was told by the 911 operator to not follow this young man and he did anyways and this is what happens a death teen. I still havn't heard if he had a conceal weapon permit? and if so, how did he get one when he was involved in domestic violent in the past against he ex girldfriend! I thought it was federal law if you have any domestic violent, you can't have weapons?The investigation by the florida police department seem so terrible I would really like some of this questions answered.He really does needs to be charge with a crime and let the jury decide if he is guilty or not.

    March 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  42. Sorry

    A lot of good statements on some of these post but don"t forget he was a kid not black or white A KID when was the last time the Pres.spoke out about a white kid getting shot? we ready don't need his input hes making it a black and white thing we need a new PRES. soon...

    March 25, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  43. Bob, Arlington, VA.

    Am listening to your interview about the Treyvon Martin case tonight with L.Z and Will and one of my reactions tonight is that I've heard the media in the last 24 hours focus on the fact that George Zimmerman reacted to Trayvon's hoodie. if I am not mistaken, during the incident itself Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend who subsequently reported that Trayvon had put the hoodie on as a result of the attention he was getting from Zimmerman.

    March 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  44. Vita Watkins

    Will Cain does not know what he is talking about! Tell him to be quiet. Trayvon's killing is murder. Pure and simple. Where is Justice? Cetrainly not in Sanford. This is so infuriating, and I cannot believe the Republicans are so cynnical as to make the Presidents common an issue. They are just envious because they do not have the compassion President Obama has as part of his character.

    March 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  45. Chris

    Greetings Don,
    I just saw a debate between 2 people (can't remember the names) and yourself. The caucasian man got upset because he thought you were looking for him to be outraged about the killing of Treyvon Martin. All he said was, ... he needed the facts before anyone can say the killing was about race. I was wondering why you or the other gentleman didn't present the facts by saying; Fact 1; Zimmerman followed Treyvon, because he was a black kid. (If he was a white kid, I'm sure nothing would of happened.) Fact 2; Zimmerman began following Treyvon, when the 911 responder told Zimmerman, not to do that. The most damaging is Fact 3; Zimmerman made a whispering racial comment about Treyvon, that was slightly recognizable while on the 911 call. Fact 4; Everyone can hear Treyvon scream on the 911 call, "Help Me, Help Me!" Why wasn't that brought up? Conclusion: Just by making a bad racial comment before you kill a harmless kid, makes it a very damaging racial killing.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  46. Ro Archer

    It’s Sunday evening, 6:30 PM and I am watching CNN. I watched two commentators, 1 black and 1 white discuss the Trayvon Martin incident. The black man, Mr. Don Lemon, is a level headed, intelligent and considerate individual from all I can tell from TV. The white man is a slightly arrogant but well meaning, fellow. He also lives in the dark of 4 to 5 decades in the past. The white man thought this was not a case based on racial profiling and insisted we did not have all the facts and we shouldn’t be angry with the confessed killer, Mr. George Zimmerman, a wannabe cop whose only power emanated from the fact he was a volunteer block captain for his neighborhood. He carried a gun he was not supposed to have on his rounds, and he was told by police to STOP following the boy he soon killed. The white man, stated he thought, over and over, that this was NOT the racial profiling many other people of both races thought it was. Well I think it was. I was raised in St. Petersburg, Fl. My family moved there from Cambridge, MA, when I was in elementary school. My parents were liberal and intelligent. The neighbors were not.
    Once there, I found I could have no black friends, no black schoolmates and could not cross the boulevard where the black neighborhoods began. As I got older, further restrictions were that I could not socialize where there were black children. In those days, specifically the 50’s and 60’s, everything was separate. There was overt fear and hatred from older whites that I was always at a loss to understand. The only reason I could ever elicit was, “they take the white man’s jobs”. Logically, I found that difficult to accept, even as a child. Today, these same people and their children have become closet racists. They pretend to be caring and civil but in the heart of hearts and retarded psyches, they still fear and hate the black man. Not everyone, thank heaven is like that. My three adult children have no such hatred or fear, my grandchildren do not. My granddaughter’s best friend is lovely child whose skin is a dozen shades darker than hers. They don’t notice, or care. They live in Washington State.
    Most people have outgrown this old and ugly set of racist fears and have become, friends, employers, employees and students of this community just as if their parents came from Europe, rather than Africa. Black men and women are doctors, professors and yes, presidents of companies and countries in our time. It is now time that we “out the closet racists”, for there certainly is a number in any given community. They cause an inordinate amount of pain and suffering for others.
    One small solution to the problem would be exposure and education. They should be pitied and their names put on a list on the internet as someone of low moral and intellectual caliber. They could remove themselves by proving they care. How that is expressed would be up to the board of monitors for this site. I am only a white, 69 year old grandmother whose heart aches for the Martin family. There is nothing like a little light and fresh air to fix things.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  47. Anthony Petroff

    .....the death of this young man is certainly a tragedy, and it may be murder.

    However, how can anyone possibly evaluate the circumstances based on a garbled 911 tape and the little facts that have emerged.None of us know what happened–certainly not from the 911 tape that general consensus seems to be convinced makes Zimmerman guilty.

    Nothing in that tape establishes that Zimmerman followed the youth–it implies that he may have followed but clearly it is only a tiny part of the picture; yet, it is being held up as fact. Even David Gregory on Meet the Press seemed to get on board with Zimmerman's guilt–a completely irresponsible position given his national influence.

    The only thing the public knows as fact is that a young man is dead–everything else is wild speculation, and it is approaching national mass hysteria. Obama is being evaluated on his leadership regarding the issue but his response was to focus on the humanity of "my son would look like the deceased." How about some leadership that embraces rational eval of available evidence.

    Anybody exposed to legal proceedings and law knows that even eye witness accounts of events can be dead wrong and/or completely misleading–but now we are ready to run wild with a muffled 911 tape.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  48. Anthony Petroff

    .....how ironic that you follow the Trayvon case with a case about a man that served 14 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

    The public is being fed an unending stream of outrage over zero established facts–in essence railroading Zimmerman based on garbled 911 tapes and a recorded cell phone conversation.

    Much more happened in those few minutes that none of us know.

    If Zimmerman is proved to be guilty, I certainly hope he is convicted and punished for taking Trayvon's life.

    However, nothing, repeat nothing that has been reported to the public this far even remotely establishes his guilt.

    How about trotting out some national leadership that can put this in to "rational" perspective.

    Fanning the flames of this speculation and presenting lopsided viewpoints is irresponsible yellow journalism–if you can call it journalism.

    Otherwise, the irony of your follow-up story on the innocent fourteen-year imprisoned man remains large.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  49. Marianne Chandler

    We need to give parents, all parents: black, white, asian, latino, native, the tools they need to raise their children free of bias, racism, and bigotry. I admit, there are racists out there, but I believe that if more parents were educated in talking with their kids and knowing what is acceptable and what isn't, we could raise a whole new generation who could help stamp out this old way of doing things.

    When my six year old step son came home saying he would only eat "american food" and didn't like "mexicans", my husband and I jumped all over him. He quickly found out he would be starving and he wouldn't be able to play with many of his friends anymore.

    I am white, but my godparents are black. They have always been my family, since the day I was born. My mother and I suffered during delivery and I ended up at the UW hospital 90 miles away from my mother. My godmother had to accompany my father to pick me up due to the fact my mother was still to weak to leave the local hospital. My godmother was the first person in my family to hold me, and coincidently also the first grandparent to hold my daughter! I have been incredible blessed to live quite oblivious to racism, in fact I have mystified many people of any color with my blatant disregard for the color of a persons skin or clothing.

    I will raise my children the same way I was, and I will be an outspoken parent to other mothers and fathers and their children about how avoid the accidental pitfalls of breeding racism and ignorance. It is all that I can do, but I would love to see someone tackle the subject of educating parents on this subject. My children and grandchildren will never be a "George Zimmerman".

    March 25, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  50. Penelope

    Brother, I am disgusted and eedply sadden by this story. As I've stated this challenges all my Christian and post-racial sensibilities. I wasn't alive during the Emmit Till situation but I imagine what I feel is what people felt back then. I ask America to take a long look at itself. I am so glad that you brought in the political aspect, because that is where the difference can be made. I am proud to say that you expressed your point on this platform and want you to know that your words have taken me from powerless to empowered. Thank you.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  51. buddlanc

    Mr. Lemon,
    Going back first to the 911 tape, when Mr. Zimmerman was told that he need not follow Mr Martin, This young man would be alive today had he listened to that advice. Secondly, How one presents themselve to someone is also a key. "what are you doing around here" is not a way of difusing a situation. Mr. Zimmerman, feeling the need to pursue the young man could have presented himself in a less foward way, and Mr. Martin would have been alive today. Thirdly, neighborhood watch volunteers don't normally carry weapons of that nature when patrolling.

    So, I ask, with these factors, Selfdefense or not, why did he feel those needs were warranted in this case?

    March 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  52. Dr. Dave Agresti

    Don – Recently you had a woman law enforcement guest who discussed the police report on the Treyvon Martin killing. She said that she was surprised that the police report was so short. As a professor of criminology as well as a criminal justice worker, I would have expected a more professional analysis from her. Criminal Report Affidavit (CRA) is the proper term for such a report. The first one submitted by law enforcement is always the short, 2 page version on just about every arrested offence. This is the document used at an arrestee’s First Appearance hearing. What she failed to say is that once the CRA is completed the lead officer will prepare, usually within 48 hours, the full report, which is probably much like a book report of many pages. Because Zimmerman was released so soon, the full report probably was not completed or submitted. I wouldn't want your listeners to believe that this short blurb is the only write-up of this or any other crime. Thought you’d like to know.

    April 1, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  53. Thomas

    IAs a black Catholic I ask – If Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum can repeatedly play the religion card by whining about the federal government's "war on religion", why can't President Obama empathize with grieving black parents who lost an innocent son?

    April 1, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  54. Ana

    May God have mercy on the man that shoot him. After listening to the 911 call that sounds exactly like the young boy crying for help. I can't believe how the law is hurting us instead of protecting us. I dont know why they didnt do an investigation on it.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  55. Christopher

    To Thamas

    Obama Goes To The Un For Decisions To Go To War Instead Of Congress, Romney Agrees.

    May 25, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  56. john johnson

    It's insane how bigoted against Z.you people are,Martin was not a 12 year old ,he was a hulking 17 who attacked and was smashing Zs head into a curb,after he broke his nose he overwhelmed Z and was trying to severely hurt him.This is when the gun was pulled and saved Zs life,Should he have just been beaten to death?get your facts before you spout nonsense.

    September 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

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