Immediately following the announcement of the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin, MSNBC host Melissa-Harris Perry condemned the jury’s decision.
According to Harris-Perry, the verdict sends a signal — a license to “kill an unarmed African-American child.”
“I think this is part of this question about is this case about race,” she said. “And obviously there have been multiple viewpoints on this. But let me be really clear that one of the key ways in which we know this is about race is that this moment, in this moment, black families are holding their sons and daughters closer to them with such a sense that in this moment, this verdict — a verdict which may be the appropriate verdict, given the evidence presented to these six people and the decision they made based on Florida law — nonetheless, it feels as though it is saying it is O.K. to kill an unarmed African-American child who has committed no crime.”
Harris-Perry also complained that the jury dismissed the “differential racial experiences” in coming to the “not guilty” verdict.
“And part of the reason it feels that way is because of the aggressive defense that not only made a point about Mr. Zimmerman, but that in important ways criminalized Trayvon Martin without what I think of us feel is clear and appropriate evidence that he did anything,” she said. “So that moment when the defense attorney brings out the piece of sidewalk, of cement, and says that Trayvon Martin was armed with this, as though Trayvon Martin had been walking with a big rock rather than with Skittles — I think part of how we know this is about race, is by the differential racial experiences that people are having — the sense of anxiety and sadness and fear that black families have in a moment when it feels as though once again, the criminal justice system has looked at the death of our child and said, ‘It simply does not matter.’”