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Nation Reacts To George Zimmerman's Not Guilty Verdict

Aired July 14, 2013 - 17:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Here in Sanford and across the nation, people rallied for Trayvon Martin vowing to keep fighting to honor the fallen teen. Others rallied to show support for George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin's family tried to heal by going to church. The pastors from coast to coast mentioned the Martins in sermons today urging peace and compassion.

Meanwhile, George Zimmerman is enjoying his first full day of freedom out of the spotlight. We have not seen him since he walked out of court last night. His lawyer said Zimmerman is afraid for his life. What's next for George Zimmerman? That's yet to be seen.

President Obama is weighing in on the Zimmerman trial verdict the White House issued a statement just a few hours ago and here's what it says.

The president says that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family or for any one community but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict I know those passions may be running even higher but we are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we are doing all we can do to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves as individuals and as a society how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that's a job for all of us. That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

So despite the not guilty verdict, the nation's oldest civil rights association wants to keep the fight going against George Zimmerman. The president of NAACP, Ben Jealous, says he is calling on the justice department to launch a federal civil rights investigation. In fact, an NAACP petition got such a response today, it brought down its Web site briefly.

Now, this morning, on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Ben Jealous spoke of patience.


BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, CEO, NAACP: It's important. Just as we all put our faith in this justice system here in Florida and in the jury, that we let the justice system run its course and the reality is in these types of cases where there are very serious questions, we know there will be a state phase. There will be a civil phase. Almost assuredly and then there will be a federal civil rights phase and we are putting our faith in that system.


LEMON: The department of justice says it is still looking at the evidence in this case.

So let's head to Washington now and check in with our Rene Marsh.

You know, Rene, President Obama is urging very measured words today using I should say very measured words today, but he is actually commended -- commented on the Trayvon Martin case before, hasn't he?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Don. You know at first, the administration told CNN that the president would not comment on the Zimmerman case but a change of heart and received that statement today. But the last time the president spoke about this case, he received quite a bit of pushback from people who said that it comments created a bit of a divide. Here's the statement that we are talking about.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. An and, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves and we'll get to the bottom to exactly what happened.


MARSH: All right. Well, the president's approach different this time in that he is not speaking to the cameras about this case. And we likely will only get this statement that you read at the top there, Don.

During the trial, the president did not weigh in and when the administration was asked to respond to those calls for federal charges to be filed against Zimmerman, all questions were directed to the department of justice.

So, we can see that the administration seems to be distancing themselves a bit and focusing more on the larger conversation. Within his statement there, you saw that the president said that we should ask ourselves, are we doing all that we can do to widen the circle of compassion and compassion in our own community. So, again Don, you can see the approach slightly different here coming here from the president.

LEMON: Rene, a question about the justice department getting involved. We heard from Ben Jealous. Any indication which way they might go on this?

MARSH: Well, we do know that the justice department is responding today and they say that right now what they're doing is looking at all of the evidence. The evidence that they have collected, also the FBI, also the evidence that came out in the state trial, as well. So, they haven't made any determination, but we do know that they know that this call for filing a federal charges is out there. They do know that they have had an open case as far as the Zimmerman trial. They had this case open looking at possible charges for quite some time now. Now, we just wait and see which way the justice department will go -- Don.

LEMON: All right. Rene Marsh, thank you very much. We appreciate that.

You know, we have been talking about protests happening in Florida and -- not just in Florida, the acquittal of George Zimmerman has sparked rallies and protests all across the country.


CROWD: Not one more. Not one more. Not one more.


LEMON: That was the scene in Chicago last night. Demonstrators taking the street shouting, not one more. Many held pictures of Trayvon Martin as they marched and about a dozen people gathered in downtown Dallas following the verdict. They held signs saying no justice, no peace.

Not all the protests were peaceful. This one took place in Oakland, California. That's where protesters smashed in the windows of a transit police car in the street.

Well, church leaders across the country pushing for peace. Many of them changed their Sunday sermons after this Zimmerman verdict. And John Zarrella went to Antioch Missionary Baptist church. It is in Miami gardens. He went there earlier today. It is the church that Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, usually attends.

So John, how was service there this morning?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, in fact, this whole area of Miami gardens where Trayvon grew up, his family, Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton, they live in the Miami gardens area. And there was some thought that perhaps Sybrina and Tracy they might be there today. They were not. But Pastor Arthur Jackson did say that he spoke with Sybrina this morning and her message to the congregation was to trust in God because she is continuing to trust in God.

Now, while the parents were not there, an aunt and uncle and a cousin were there and their message was that they hoped this would never happen again.


IESHA FELTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S RELATIVE: This has definitely been a tragedy but coming from the tragedy has been the movement which we are and we would love it to be more awareness. And now it's not just a few people in Sanford that know about it, but it's everyone. You know? So we're proud of that. And we just keep our faith. That's what's going to keep us strong and keep us peaceful. So we have peace in our spirit, peace in our mind. So that we can just continue on but we don't want this to happen to anyone else again. There is no reason for this to happen to any other families. No one should have to go through this.


ZARRELLA: You know, Pastor Jackson told me that he was very, very proud of how the community stayed composed, how the community reacted in the aftermath of the verdict. You know, and in fact, members of the congregation said to me look, if you thought there was going to be violence in this community after the verdict, then that in and of itself was stereotyping.


TYRON WILLIAMS, MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA RESIDENT: I believe so. I believe, again, you know, they were talking about racial profiling of Mr. Martin. Racial profiling of our community. That I realized that the leaders in our community, we have talked about it, dealt with it. You didn't see it. I don't think you're going to see it. I think you need to stop putting people in boxes and start dealing with the system. I understand that members who aren't African-American who were just upset about the verdict. No one is anticipating then writing. Don't expect it from our community.


ZARRELLA: You know, the overriding message of all of this came out today was a message of faith. And everyone that we spoke with said that it was faith that got them through this far and it is faith that is continuing to get them through -- Don.

LEMON: All right. John Zarrella, thank you very much.

Speaking of faith, Sunday worshippers stopped to reflect on the Zimmerman verdict today.

In Atlanta, Ebenezer Baptist church, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's home congregation. The pastor this morning called for all parishioners under 18-year-old to step forward in a tribute to Trayvon Martin.


REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENIOR PASTOR, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he, another black men and boys, are seen not as a person but as a problem. Isn't that what we heard on the 911 call? I see a problem. Do you know him, sir? No. But I know he's a problem. What is he doing? Not doing much. He is walking, but he's a problem. What does he have? Skittles and iced tea but he's a problem.


LEMON: Well, this is Sanford, Florida, today. Not far from where Trayvon Martin was killed last year and the trial was held. Worshippers held a special prayer day and gathered for rally this afternoon at the courthouse.

George Zimmerman walked out of the courthouse a free man. But his legal troubles could be far from over. The reason he may face new criminal charges.

And Florida state attorney Angela Corey and her performance last night following the verdict. Was she talking about the case her team lost or accepting an award? We're talking about it coming up.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Don Lemon live here in Florida, continuing coverage of George Zimmerman not guilty verdict.

Just because a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty doesn't mean he's free and clear. Last time his verdict just ends the state's criminal case against him. But George Zimmerman could face a civil lawsuit filed on by the family of Trayvon Martin.

The justice department also has an open investigation in to Martin's death. It's possible Zimmerman could face a federal civil rights charge but that is still to be decided. All of it still to be decided, really.

But let's talk about the prosecution in this case. Florida state attorney Angela Corey is getting some flock for his post-verdict performance last night.

Here's Corey last night. Take a listen.


ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: This case has never been about race nor has it ever been about the right to bear arms. Not in the sense of proving this as a criminal case. What we always believed that this was a case of details that had to be analyzed very, very carefully. I never could quite understand people, even people with law degrees, who had not read all of the police reports who had not read all of the witness statements, yet, who came up with opinions one way or the other.

And this team of people standing with me, who stand with me every day in the 4th circuit and try tough cases like this all the time, knew that we had to do the best to get the entire facts and details of this case out and before a jury.


LEMON: Some critics said Corey sounded like she was accepting an academy award instead of talking about a case her team lost.

Let's bring in CNN legal analyst and defense attorney Mark Nejame and CNN's Martin Savidge with me here in Florida.

So, I have to be quite honest. I see your reaction. I was sitting here with Martin and it was Sunny last night and I said why is she smiling? What's your reaction?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I wouldn't call that a smile. I would call that something that was painted on a face to look like a smile. To me, it was insincere and if you -- if anybody does any research into this (INAUDIBLE) county, state attorney's office, they will see in my opinion deplorable prosecution of those who don't need to be prosecuted the way that she does. So this is such an anomaly to see -- to listen to her and to see her. This, she should have never, ever brought a second-degree murder charge. Manslaughter, different story.

SAVIDGE: Is there a personal agenda or career?

NEJAME: With her?


NEJAME: Well, I think we are going to eventually follow the bread crumbs. How sheep specifically came to be appointed to this case. Remember, Wolfinger who is in that building for many, many year never to my knowledge in decades had any claims against interracial prejudice or bigotry as a state attorney. And then, mysteriously he signs a recusal letter saying he is off the case with no reason given. And then all of a sudden we have Angela Corey there, the governor's chief of staff as I understand came from Jacksonville, the place where she comes and so it looks like a special point was made and it was brought for whatever political pressure might have come to bear. To me, that's scary.

Now, there's legitimate issues about the manslaughter. No ifs, ands or buts. The jury has considered it and we move from there, at least we have a discussion from there. But second-degree murder in my opinion by bringing that overcharge helped the defense get an acquittal. And if there's any faces to look at for blame, it's the face and the office of Angela Corey and the governor's office for allowing this to be so extreme and to get people's hopes up when almost everybody that looks at the case and knows the fact and otherwise know that second-degree murder was such a stretch that it really, really compromised their case.

LEMON: And Martin and I are looking at each other and probably thinking the same thing. You said a lot here. So, we invite Angela Corey or anyone from the governor's office and anyone involved in the courtroom back here to come here and give a response to this. That's not our reporting.

NEJAME: I'd be happy to. As a legal analyst, this is my opinion. This is my opinion from being a criminal defense lawyer in this area for a long time.


What's reaction? What are people saying about her performance last night.

SAVIDGE: Well, Mark O'Mara, you know, I talked the end of line and he says, look, you know, I asked him specifically how much did politics play in the case? And he could tell he just about said it had everything to do with this case.

LEMON: Right.

SAVIDGE: What's interesting about the prosecutor team is normally prosecutors and defense attorneys within an area know one another because they brought a cross one another in previous cases and previous instances. These two had not crossed paths before that I'm aware of. So, that's one of the reasons why you had this very different and at times what seemed to be affronting kind of relationship between the prosecution and between the defense team.

Angela Corey, remember this was, I believe, you know, the news conference when she announced the charges. Many people thought that was hugely dramatic and shows up, well dressed, she presents and delivers this kind of a speech before she gets to what she's there for, the charges against --

LEMON: But is this three guys out here, are we being sexist here? I mean, I heard other people said -- I don't want it to come off as that but it appear to be sort of a kind of beauty pageant sort of answer like you know, how will you cure the -- you know, the world?

SAVIDGE: I think the point to be made is there's a lot of pressure brought to bear on this team of prosecutors. You already pointed out that they were appointed specifically she was named by the governor of the state of Florida so right then and there and you know she's placed right up front and in the spotlight.

Her team had a difficult challenge. I think anyone would say based upon the evidence at the scene they worked very hard. They tried their best and did not work. Whether we get in to the issue of ethics and violations here to still have to be --

NEJAME: But Don, let me say, we still never got an answer as to why did Mr. Wolfinger, the state attorney of this circuit step down? There is no reason given. Why does a prosecutor who's been handling cases for ten, 20 years, no question about bigotry or prejudice or anything, not a suggestion raised, step done.

LEMON: You practice law here. This is your community.

NEJAME: I've been against this -- thank you. Why? Why? I leave it out there for the question to be asked. You know, we never got an answer from anybody. Why simply, to the people that came in, why don't they tell us? They were surely anything but incompetent. We fought them tooth and nail for years. If this is truly as it's represented to the public a fair and unbiased investigation to determine which charges could be brought, when did we ever, ever hear of a prosecutor saying before they're making that investigation they meet with the family and they prayed with them holding hands the night before? LEMON: Yes.

NEJAME: Now, I think that's a nice thing to do but if you're truly here as an unbiased prosecutor, and you're not here with some sort of agenda, why are you doing that? You do that after you've made an unbiased decision. But then the next day or so, charges were announced.

I'm concerned. I think that a manslaughter investigation, I totally get that. I totally understand it. I think that was totally appropriate. But to get the public's hopes up for something unattainable and then the backlash, no. Consequences of actions and these are consequences of an overcharge.

SAVIDGE: And got to run. To get to your point and love to talk to the prosecution team to share this and to bring out both sides.

LEMON: You read my mind. That's how I was going to end it.

NEJAME: May I be there, too?


NEJAME: Thank you.

LEMON: Ample opportunity. Come on any time and talk about this.

And so, thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.

One person who isn't talking today is George Zimmerman. He's staying out of sight since leaving the courtroom last night. But next we are going to hear from his brother.


LEMON: This afternoon, more support for Trayvon Martin and his family. A rally is taking place in Sanford, Florida. Alina Machado is at the rally. She joins us live now.

Alina, what's it like down there?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This crowd started gathering about an hour ago as you can see it. Started out pretty small and now it has grown quite a bit. There are some people from the community who have come out to show their disappointment with the not guilty verdict that the jury returned. And I'm joined here by somebody who's been out in the community all day getting a pulse, a feel for how things have been. The Sanford police chief Cecil Smith.

Chief Smith, just give us a sense of how things are out in the community and how have they been?

CECIL SMITH, SANFORD POLICE CHIEF: Actually, things have been very good. This is probably the largest crowd that's been out and as you can tell they've been very, very peaceful. They have an opportunity to talk about the things going on and express their feelings. MACHADO: Give us a sense of what you've seen.

SMITH: Thus far?


SMITH: Last night people had an opportunity to come out and to the (INAUDIBLE) area shortly after the verdict was read. And, again, it was an atypical Saturday night where people were still out and talking and, you know, enjoying themselves.

But, you know what's really interesting is the people here have been very, very, very peaceful. And that's the thing that we continue to was talking about. It is a great opportunity for people to come out and express themselves. And that's what's important. Regardless of how you feel about the verdict or the how case has gone, it's that if you're going to do something, you do so in a peaceful manner and people in this town have been outstanding with that -- remaining peaceful.

MACHADO: Where were you when the verdict came down?

SMITH: I was in courtroom.

MACHADO: Your thoughts?

SMITH: You know, that judicial system ran its course.

MACHADO: What is your message to people here in Sanford and also all over the country?

SMITH: You know, Sanford has been put in the spotlight for 17, 18 months and we are in the process of now opening up a new chapter and going in a new direction, learning from the things taken place and seeing how to improve and to each other and how we can better communicate with one another and how we can make the community better.

MACHADO: Well, you guys heard it from the chief. He's been out and about. He says things have been pretty calm around the community and this is the largest protest or gathering that we have seen here in Sanford so far today --Don.

LEMON: All right. Alina Machado, we will get back to you. Thank you very much for that.

The criminal case against George Zimmerman is over and whether he decides to stay in Florida or move away and start over his life will never be the same and his brother spoke with our Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo this morning. He had choice words for the NAACP, news media and answers if George Zimmerman will carry the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin. You should listen to this.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From your brother 's perspective, you know where his head is on this things. Do you believe he looks at things he did that and night says I wish I hadn't. I regret having a round in the chamber or following him when I was told it wasn't necessary or starting something or continuing something? What does he regret?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: I'll tell you what. I tell you that when this happened, George wasn't the same. He was profoundly saddened. He was completely a somber person that was just not himself.

Regret is a very strong word. Regret implies that your actions -- you have culpability in what you did for what happened and I think that's what you're asking. Does he accept or share the blame. I think that George outside of the word blame feels and has felt and I've expressed this before very bad. He even told the police officer, Doris Singleton, he asked her, are you Catholic? That came out in court because in my religion, death by any standard is a tragedy, whether it is abortion or self defense or what have you. So he does have emotion about the fact that he had to take a life in self defense but that is incompatible with finding culpability in what he did.

CUOMO: Did you ever hear him say I wish I didn't do that?

ZIMMERMAN: No. In fact, I have heard him said the opposite.


ZIMMERMAN: Well, he had that interview with Sean Hannity and that was, you know, presented in court as well and I don't think people who are forthcoming and forthright with what they do and believe they're doing the right thing should then go back. That's the way were thought always as children. If you do the right thing all the time or what you believe to be right you don't have to go back and make amends for that and say it should have been this way. If shouldn't be that way now and you can think of that in hindsight then it should have been that way then.

CUOMO: You're saying what he did was right that night, it is right today. I'm asking something different. Taking someone's life is the last thing you should want to do.


CUOMO: Does your brother feel that way? That he wishes he hadn't taken that 17-year-old's life?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, that's two different questions, really. Taking someone's life is the last thing you should ever want to do. I would agree that's what came out in court. That's exactly how he felt. He didn't find out until he was at the police station that he had, in fact, taken someone's life and he was distraught by that thought.

CUOMO: He really didn't know?

ZIMMERMAN: No, he really didn't know. He asked Officer Doris Singleton and she revealed to him in an interview, in his first interview with police that Trayvon Martin has expired, that he had died and he was dismayed by that. But, what you are saying is that what I should or shouldn't do, self defense is self defense. And people who carry guns, who discharge them are trained and taught that there's only one reason or one legal way that you should discharge a weapon. You don't discharge them to wound people or you don't discharge them if you don't brandish them or you don't need to shoot up in the air to control a crazy party. That's what happened. He was an armed person who Mr. Martin unfortunately isn't here to express any regrets he might have today but Mr. Martin had plans for George that night and unfortunately his plans and his encounter with George began with breaking his nose. I wish it weren't that way, you know, but it is.

BOLDUAN: There is a lot of very big push now for bringing civil rights charges against your brother. What do you say?

ZIMMERMAN: It sounds to me like what you're saying race is never a factor. I think that is the first thing she saddened. She believes are alleges which has been disproven in a court of law that George somehow criminally profiled Trayvon Martin.

I think that -- I would encourage Mr. Jealous who I describe as a self professed civil rights leader. I don't think he does anything for civil rights by perpetuating a narrative that's has now been proven false and calling for an arrest and then a conviction and it didn't happen so now there's more agitation by the same players that were insisting that George was a murder and racist to begin with.

BOLDUAN: But the Justice Department is gathering information. I mean, the Justice Department is not directly responding to the NAACP's request, but it has -- it is gathering information and there is an investigation.

ZIMMERMAN: Right. We welcomed, actually, that investigation through the FBI when they originally started investigating George. They investigated, I think, about three dozen of his closest friends and acquaintances. And there is not any inkling of racism. In fact, there's evidence to show the opposite.

So I would encourage them to cool their jets, give everyone some time to process what's going on. Agitation doesn't help us. It doesn't do anybody any good right now.

I'm not angry at the media. I think the media has to do a better job when you have people injecting race in to things. A red flag has to go up right away, especially after a case like this where two very crafty attorneys got away with fabricating a completely scripted narrative and selling it to the American people through the media. Through CNN. Through ABC. Through NBC. They did it themselves. To borrow a line from the movie "Argo," if you want to sell a lie, have the media sell it for you.

BOLDUAN: Will George carry a gun now?

ZIMMERMAN: I don't know. You know, I heard from Piers Morgan actually last night that his gun was returned to him or that at least he's eligible to have it returned to him. I don't know that he'll carry a gun. I think he has more reason to now than before because there's so many more people who want him dead that know that he's free. But at the same time, he can move about a little bit more than he did before.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: That was earlier today on CNN. Coming up, we told you moments ago about President Obama's statement regarding the Zimmerman trial. How do the president's words impact the fallout from the verdict? We're going in depth next.


LEMON: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict. You're looking at live picture of the White House. 5:34 p.m. Eastern time.

So how's President Barack Obama impacting the fallout of the Zimmerman verdict? Well, the White House issued a statement just hours ago. The president says, "The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family or any one community but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions, and in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection for two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we're doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves as individuals and as a society how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that's a job for all of us. That's the way to honor Trayvon Martin."

So let's bring in our panel now. I have a feeling that we're going to have to separate all of these guys. Attorney and TV host Mo Ivory joins us from Atlanta, along with diversity and inclusion expert Buck Davis. In New York, we have radio host and New York City Tea Party co-founder David Webb.

So, Mo, I'm going to start with you first. How does President Obama's statement affect the fallout from the Zimmerman verdict, if at all?

MO IVORY, ATTORNEY/TV HOST: Sure, Don. I think the statement gives us a little bit of comfort, and he is the president of the United States and we want to hear from him. We need to hear from him. It's especially comforting after saying that Trayvon could have been his son. He would have looked like him. I wanted to hear him say something. So it brought me some comfort, but just a little bit because I'm still angry, I'm still upset. I'm trying to process this verdict and figure out where we go from here. So it's a wonderful thing that he did that but --

LEMON: What are you angry about, Mo? Mo, mo, mo.


IVORY: -- that a murderer got away with murder? No, David, what am I angry about? That you're asking me that question.

LEMON: No, it's Don! It's Don. It's Don.

IVORY: Ok, Don, I'm angry because a murderer got away with murder. I'm angry because in our system, George Zimmerman's brother Robert just said that Trayvon had plans for George Zimmerman, and that that rhetoric is going on. A boy was walking to the store and he was getting a snack and he got murdered. And a murderer got away with it yesterday. That's what I'm mad about.

LEMON: Do you have to be mad about it? Because, listen. People don't like verdicts all the time. And do you think it's productive to be angry? I mean, maybe it's not the right emotion that you're -- I don't know --

IVORY: No, Don. It's the right emotion. No, it's the right emotion. I'm angry about it. I'm angry that we live in the society where this kind of thing can still happen. And that we're having this conversation like, oh my gosh, I don't even understand why people are pulling a race card.

You don't have to pull the race card. It's out. We live with it everyday. We wake up and it's out. We go to work and it's out. We get in our cars and it's out. We go to trials, and the race card is out. Nobody has to pull it because it lives outside in America every day. That's why I'm angry. And I think everybody, not just African- Americans, everybody should be angry a 17-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood and the murderer is free.

LEMON: Okay. All right. Mo, let's get in - Buck, I promise you're going to get to talk this time. Mo, why are you shaking your head in disagreement here? David? David?

DAVID WEBB, NYC TEA PARTY CO-FOUNDER: Well, look. I understand outrage over not getting the verdict you want. If Mo would actually reach back to the legal premise that exists here which is Skittles is not a crime, walking is not a crime, a hoodie is not a crime. Again, this is a terrible tragedy. But the incident that happened happened --

IVORY: No, shooting somebody in their chest.

WEBB: However, let me finish.


LEMON: Let him finish. Let him finish.

WEBB: Because a young black man was just murdered in Chicago for refusing to join a gang.

LEMON: Wait. Hold on. David, David, David, David, David, David, David, David, David.


IVORY: What kind of a comparison is that?

LEMON: Stop both of you. Mo! Mo! Stop. David, stop. David, do not do that false equivalent. That is not --

WEBB: No, I'm not trying to equivocate. But the outrage --

LEMON: Yes but listen.

WEBB: I'm not comparing --

LEMON: Crime happens all the time, and because a crime happens, it does not mean that you should shift the focus from what happened here. Let's stick to this particular plan.

WEBB: Okay. On this issue --

LEMON: We're talking about this case.

IVORY: Thank you.

WEBB: On this issue, then, the system played out. Again, we needed to see due process, not outside agitation. He was tried. The jury was picked. They were selected. They had a jury that made a decision on second-degree manslaughter - on second-degree murder. On the manslaughter charges, they acquitted him. The system worked.

Now, if you don't like the verdict, I can understand that. But to take it beyond that into the continued hyperbole of it's race - in the dark, rainy night with a hoodie on walking away from him and with a 911 call to back it up, he couldn't even identify him clearly. So he wasn't racially profiling him. This is a tragedy, and a travesty is when you get to the point where race becomes the overwhelming issue rather than the justice system.


IVORY: The justice system is broken.

LEMON: OK, all right, hold on, guys. You have to let me lead this conversation. So, you have two people of color. I assume you're both African-American. Excuse me for assuming that.

IVORY: I am. I'm not sure about David.

WEBB: I'm a black man. I'm an American. That's what it is.

IVORY: Oh, okay. Keep with that.

LEMON: Okay. So - (LAUGHTER) girl, you are crazy. So, you have two people --

WEBB: I guess I'm not black enough.


LEMON: -- whether it's color, whether it's not. And then you have a white man in the middle, and I'm wondering what he thinks this is all about. But we're going to have to hold on and hear what he has to say after the break. Don't go anywhere, everyone.


LEMON: All right. I'm Don Lemon here in Sanford, Florida. Let's get back now to our conversation about race and about the president's impact on the culture surrounding Trayvon Martin's death and the Zimmerman trial.

Is it appropriate for the president to weigh in on the case when there are so many other cases that don't get a presidential mention? So, we talked about that. I want to finish up with that before we get to Buck because I said I was going to let Buck in here. Do you think it's appropriate for the president to weigh in here, David?

WEBB: Well, the president had to follow up on his initial statement when he made the comment that if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon, so I expected that. I don't think that should surprise anyone.

LEMON: Okay. So Buck, you've heard from David has to say. You heard what Mo has to say. Two people of color. Both feeling differently about race here. How do you feel about race in this particular situation?

DAVIS: Well, let's start with the energy that surrounds this case, which is an indicator of the pulse of the racial problems in this country. The reason why people are stunned but not shocked -- I don't know a lot of people who are shocked at the verdict. I think that this is a very familiar space for black people. I think that this is nothing new for their group. And for many of the people in my fold, it is yet another unfriendly reminder of a justice system that seems to be working so effortlessly for other groups of people and not working as well for people of color. So, that is the tension.

Now, David, I want to ask you this. Don't you think this is worst- case scenario for making assumptions? That he first started profiling him by a couple of data points. And I see this all the time in corporate America where we look at someone's height, weight, skin color or sexual orientation, and we begin to use that as an indicator of capability on the job as an indicator of their potential. So you take that same filter and you apply it to this situation, and he's on some level, David, he has predicted criminal behavior. Wouldn't you agree, David?

WEBB: He didn't profile a black man. I'll answer your question, and if you listen to the 911 call and you get the answer that he wasn't even sure of it. Two, whether he profiled --

LEMON: Wait, wait, David.

IVORY: Wait a minute.

LEMON: He wasn't sure he was a black man?

IVORY: He told them that he thought he was a black man.

WEBB: He was not sure in the black call, except for the NBC edit which tried to portray it as black. He said he wasn't sure if he was black or Hispanic. I don't remember the exact words. So, he wasn't profiling just a black man. That's part of the false narrative that's being used here.

Now, there was a problem in that area, and for better or worse, George Zimmerman made a mistake in my opinion by going ahead and profiling some form of behavior from someone he didn't recognize. That was an error. These are two elements.

IVORY: An error? An error that led to murder. An error that led to murder.

LEMON: Mo! Mo! Mo! I'm going to ask you, please, you will get your turn. Okay? But I think you are being disingenuous about. He wasn't sure of the exact ethnicity of the person that he was following, but I'm sure he could see the person to figure out it was a person of color. Maybe he's black, maybe Hispanic. But I think you are disingenuous, David, saying --

WEBB: He was asked by the operator. The operator used the term, first -

LEMON: Yes, the operator said he believed he was black.

WEBB: He didn't know. He followed. He followed. Now, even this aside, that doesn't speak to the incident which led to the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. That is one incident, and that was a bad decision that led to a worse incident. But the two are separate. Both under Florida law under what happened because none of us here or for that matter likely will ever know because Trayvon is dead, unfortunately, and George Zimmerman, well, even if he tells the story can be questioned -- none of us will ever know what happened in those key couple of minutes between the two of them.

LEMON: David? Hold that thought. A break, and then we'll talk more after the break.


LEMON: All right, I'm back with my panel. First to David Webb. David, we have to be honest about this. We can't be disingenuous and start saying things aren't about race when they are obviously about race in this country. Otherwise, when are we going to get over this?

WEBB: Looks, racism exists and will always exist in some form in society. And where it exists, we should take it on and do our best to defeat it. What I don't like is when everything or so many things are made about race when they are not maybe the dominant issue because that actually marginalizes when we need to take on the issues, whether it's racism or other forms of bias. We need to get rid of those issues in our society as much as possible. But when we argue about race as the only issue, we do a disservice to the true nature of, frankly, advance in our culture.

LEMON: Mo Ivory, I'm going to unleash you now because you've been sitting there and you have very contained. And I know - listen, you were expressing the feelings of a lot of people I've been watching and talking to on social media.

IVORY: Listen, Don, nobody is saying that every single time something happens, it has to be about race. But let me say this: most times it is about race. So let's not also say well, you know what? It's not the biggest issue. It's the issue that permeates throughout the way we live our lives in America all the time. This case just brought it out in the spotlight because of the nature of a 17-year-old black boy dying.

Let's not ignore what it is, David. Yes, there was a trial. I accept what the jury decided. It was not about racial profiling in this case. It was about what happened at the moment they came together. But that doesn't mean you throw out everything else that happened: that he got into his car, that he followed Trayvon. These are the conversations we need to have.

So, on the one hand, maybe it's not the biggest issue, but if it is a part of the issue, then it's a problem and it's something we cannot ignore by just saying that it's not there.

WEBB: But Mo, I agree. So, let's have those discussions when blacks kill whites on the same level.

LEMON: Buck Davis, I've got to get you. This is your profession. (INAUDIBLE)

DAVIS: If we are trying to widen the circle of compassion, we need to narrow the focus of self-reflection. And we need to pay attention to our automatic assumptions we are making about people who are different from us that leads us into a tragedy.

So if you're looking for something to do tonight, America, think about what is resonating with you as you listen to this coverage. What is bubbling up for you? Because that may be an indicator of a bias that you can get a handle on.

LEMON: Yes. Like going out and meeting someone who is different than you and not just meeting, but becoming friends with them. Going over to their home, you coming over to their house. Those sorts of things. Getting to know other people who don't necessarily look like you or are not necessarily in your particular class and station in life.

Thanks to my panel. Appreciate it. We are back in a moment.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Susan Hendricks in Atlanta. Back to our live team coverage from Sanford in just a moment. But first, want to get you caught up on other news of the day.

We start in Iraq, where a string of blasts killed at least 22 people today. Car and roadside bombs exploded across seven cities. Dozens were hurt. It is the third consecutive days bombs have slammed the rocky cities.

A flurry of activity today as Egypt's interim government tries to get on its feet. Among the most significant development the swearing in of Mohamed ElBaradei as interim vice president for foreign relation. ElBaradei was a vocal critic of deposed president Mohamed Mori. Morsi's supporters are still staging mass protests. But in the wake of the past week, street violence (INAUDIBLE) state-run Egyptian news agency says prosecutors have frozen the assets of at least 14 people, including several members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist leaders as well.

There is a warning today from the journalist who broke the story of the NSA surveillance program. In an interview with an Argentine newspaper, Glenn Greenwald says the man who leaked the material has more information that would be dire for the U.S. if released. Greenwald says Edward Snowden, quote, "has enough information to cause more harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had. The U.S. government," he said, "should be on their knees everyday praying nothing happens to Snowden because if something happens, all information will be revealed. And that would be their worst nightmare." End quote. Snowden has said he will ask Russia for temporary asylum, but Russia so far has said it has received no quest.

In Texas, demonstrators took to the capital building as the Senate passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country. Several arrests were made. Governor Rick Perry plans to sign the legislation. He defended the bill today on CNN's STATE OF THE UNION.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: In the state of Texas, we put some substantial amount of money into women's health programs over the course of the last two years, partly because the Obama administration pulled our funding to the state of Texas because they disagreed with Texas' restrictions on these abortions. And most people I think in this country and in Texas certainly believe six months is too late to be deciding whether or not these babies should be aborted or not. We put the limit at five months in this bill.


HENDRICKS: Now critics argue the law will force the shutdown of most of the abortion clinics in Texas.

"Glee" actor Cory Monteith is dead. He played Finn Hudson on the show. His body was found yesterday in his room at a Vancouver hotel. The cause of his death is not known at this time, but police ruled out foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. Earlier this year, Monteith entered a rehab facility for substance abuse. He was released in April. The "Glee" star was 31.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.