Published April 02, 2012
NEW YORK – The father of a black Florida teen killed in February by a neighborhood watch captain says his son's death shouldn't be a race issue, and that his family is looking for a peaceful resolution in the case.
Speaking to Fox News' Geraldo Rivera on his show "Geraldo at Large," Tracy Martin, father of slain teen Trayvon Martin, said though the family is seeking justice, they are also promoting peace.
"First and foremost, me and my family, as well as my attorneys are promoting non-violence in this issue," he said. "We just want a peaceful resolution – we’re promoting peace. We’re not responsible for anybody’s actions."
Tracy Martin was responding to comments made by the Black Panthers, who have claimed there was a bounty on the head of the shooter, George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, during a confrontation Feb. 26.
Zimmerman reportedly has claimed the teen attacked him, and that he shot him in self-defense. He has not been charged in the case.
The case has become a racial flashpoint with protesters across the nation calling for Zimmerman's arrest. Zimmerman's father is white, his mother Hispanic, while Trayvon Martin was black.
Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, also appeared on the show and said she believes police will soon arrest Zimmerman in the death of her son. She says she was outraged Zimmerman was not arrested immediately after the shooting.
"If the Sanford police department had done their job, they would have arrested him at the scene, and let the judge decide if he was guilty or innocent," she said.
She said she was glad to hear new reports that experts are claiming a voice heard screaming for help on a 911 tape shortly before the shooting belong to her son. The teen's family has always claimed the screams belonged to Trayvon Martin, while Zimmerman's supporters have claimed he was the one screaming.
Attorney Ben Crump, who also appeared on the show, says he will be asking the Justice Department on Monday to probe why the local prosecutor allegedly overruled police who wanted to arrest Zimmerman the night of the shooting.
"The lead detective heard Zimmerman’s version of what happened," Crump said. "And he made the decision that he recommended an arrest for manslaughter because in his words, he said that Zimmerman’s version was not credible."
Crump claims the state attorney then examined the case and made an "illogical" choice.
"They told the lead investigator, the person who’s trained, the person who has the experience doing this over day in and day out, that they reject his recommendation," he said. "They decide to let Zimmerman go free that night when Trayvon went to the medical examiner’s office."
Rivera also apologized to Fulton and Tracy Martin about comments he made last week that Trayvon Martin's hooded sweatshirt, or "hoodie," he was wearing could have contributed to his death. Zimmerman reportedly told police he thought Trayvon Martin's hoodie looked suspicious.
The family's comments came only hours after thousands of political leaders, sport stars and entertainers gathered Sunday at a Miami rally to call for the arrest of Zimmerman.
Many of the people who gathered at the bayside park on a sunny afternoon wore T-shirts with Martin's image and the words "Justice for Trayvon." Others wore buttons that said, "Do I look suspicious?" Numerous supporters came dressed in hooded sweat shirts like the one Martin was wearing when he died.
The Rev. Al Sharpton led the crowd in circulating buckets to collect contributions that he said would help pay for the Martins' legal fees and travel.
"This is not a fit," Sharpton said. "This is a movement."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.