Trayvon Martin's parents and brother made their first public appearances on "Today" Thursday morning, telling Matt Lauer they'd felt certain all along that George Zimmerman was going to prison -- and asserting that race fueled the tragic confrontation.
"Still shocked, still in disbelief," said Martin's father, Tracy. "We felt in our hearts that we were gonna get a conviction. We thought that the killer of our unarmed child was gonna be convicted of the crime that he committed."
Lauer asked Tracy how he felt about Juror B37's comments that racial profiling did not play a part in the case. Tracy disagreed with her: "I think that if Trayvon had been white this wouldn't have never happened," he said. "Obviously race is playing some type of role."
"Today" was the first show to get a live interview with Martin's family ("CBS This Morning" aired its interview with Martin's parents first, but that was pre-taped). Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday.
Asked if he had anything to say to the six jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman, Tracy said: "I just didn't understand, how can you let the killer of an unarmed child go free? What would your verdict have been had it been your child? There's no winners in this case at all."
Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, was more reserved during the interview, saying "I think [the justice system] failed Trayvon to a certain degree ... we didn't get the verdict that we were looking for."
She added her hope that the protests against Zimmerman's acquittal, some of which have turned violent, be "decent and in order ... we think the protests should be peaceful protests."
Jahvaris Fulton, Trayvon's older brother, did not speak.
Tracy chose his words carefully when asked if his faith would allow him to forgive Zimmerman, saying, "Forgiveness takes time."
Neither parent seemed particularly eager to talk about Zimmerman, instead focusing on their son and what the verdict means to children like him.
"We sit on the victims' seat," Fulton said. "It's sending a terrible message to other little black and brown boys that you can't walk fast, you can't walk slow. So what do they do? I mean, you can't walk home without people ... assuming that you're doing something wrong. Trayvon wasn't doing anything wrong."
Martin's parents hope that the federal government will continue to look into whether more charges can be filed against Zimmerman. "As parents we just feel that there could've been something more done," Tracy said.
"And more for you to do?" Lauer asked.
"Definitely," said Tracy. "We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Martin's parents will sit down with Anderson Cooper tonight on CNN for a much longer interview.
Here's the video:
- Family & Relationships
- Trayvon Martin
- Matt Lauer