Skip to content

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin talk with CNN’s Anderson Cooper

Trayvon Martin's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday, July 18, 2013 that it has be
Trayvon Martin’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday, July 18, 2013 that it has been very difficult for them in the aftermath of the […]

Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy, said Thursday it was difficult to listen to testimony about his son, particularly the negative comments, during George Zimmerman’s trial.

“That wasn’t the Trayvon that we raised. That wasn’t the Trayvon that we knew, and that we love,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday night.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said that she felt the need to sit through every day of Zimmerman’s trial because her son was “not here to say anything for himself.”

She said that she needed to “show a face” for her son.

Martin’s parents spoke out Thursday for the first time since Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Martin’s mother said that despite comments made by one of the jurors, identified only as Juror B37, earlier this week that panel members did not know much about the teenager, the jury knew enough.

“They knew he was a teenager. They knew he was on his way home. They knew he ran,” she said. “…How much do you need to know?”

Referring to Juror B37’s statement that she did not believe race was a factor in the shooting, Fulton said, “I think that’s a joke.”

Tracy Martin explained that his children had grown up in a diverse community, so he didn’t feel a need to have a conversation about how Trayvon and his other son should deal with race.

Rather, he said he talked with his children about “how we prepare them to become teenagers, to become upstanding citizens, to conduct themselves in public.” But once his unarmed son was shot, he said that changed. “What is it I can tell my child now?” he asked.

Despite his son’s death, Tracy Martin said he still has faith in the legal system.

“The state did all they could with what they had” given the poor quality of the investigation, he said.

“Does the system work? It didn’t work for us. We remain prayerful that through this injustice, we can close that gap and hopefully the system can start working for everyone equally.”

Martin’s mother said that she hoped that a foundation started in her son’s name would allow for something good to come out of his death.

“The change that we hope to affect is with the law,” Sybrina Fulton said. “We want to make sure any teenager who is walking down the street wont’ be killed, that they will make it home safe.”

Earlier, in interviews on the three network TV morning news programs, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin assailed the verdict and the Zimmerman defense team’s argument that the killing was in self-defense during an attack by the unarmed teenager.

Fulton told “CBS This Morning” she was “in a bit of shock” after the verdict. “I thought surely that he would be found guilty of second-degree murder,” she said.

On NBC’s “Today,” Fulton said the case is “sending a terrible message to other little black and brown boys — that you can’t walk fast, you can’t walk slow. So what do they do? I mean, how do you get home without people knowing or either assuming that you’re doing something wrong? Trayvon wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

Tracy Martin told CBS he wants America to know that Trayvon “was a fun-loving child.”

Speaking to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Martin added that he and Fulton did not find the verdict fair, “and of course it’s devastating.”

“My first thought was shock, disgust,” said Fulton.

The parents did not say whether they may file a civil lawsuit.

They pushed for the federal government — which is considering whether to file criminal civil rights charges against Zimmerman — to examine the case closely.

Fulton told CBS she wants President Barack Obama to go through the case “with a fine-tooth comb.”

“Today” asked them whether they may forgive Zimmerman, the 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer. “Forgiveness is like a healing process. Forgiveness takes time,” Martin responded. “The Bible says that you have to forgive and forget, but also the healing process is a long process and the forgiving process is a long process.”

Daryl Parks, an attorney for the Martin family, spoke with CNN’s “New Day” about why the parents chose to do interviews now.

“Maybe Trayvon’s human aspect, in the course of the case, didn’t come out quite as much,” he said. “As you listen to that juror (B37), she talks very deeply about George Zimmerman and humanizes George Zimmerman, when in this case Trayvon was the victim here.”

CNN’s Josh Levs, Joe Sterling and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

Dana Ford and Chelsea Carter | CNN