This morning, the Morning Joe panel discussed the Feb. 26 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old, George Zimmerman, who considered himself to be a neighborhood watch captain of a gated Florida community.
The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI have announced they will open an investigation into the killing.
We had MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton on to share his thoughts.
"Zimmerman wasn’t standing his ground," Joe Scarborough said at the top of the discussion. "Zimmerman was chasing this young man and following him and harassing him." Scarborough followed up by saying "I know there are a lot of people in Tallahassee that watch this show. I know Pam Bondi, the [Florida] Attorney General watches this show. I know a lot of people watch this show. They better move in fast on this case because a lot of people have acted in a shameful way."
In mentioning Zimmerman not standing his ground, Scarborough was referring to something in Florida called the "Stand Your Ground" law, enacted in 2005, which Slate's Emily Bazelon explored on Monday.
The idea was to give people who think they are being threatened the right to use force: They can protect themselves without first trying to retreat. The history behind that controversial idea is actually about gender, not race. It involves the intersection between the fight against domestic violence and the agenda of the National Rifle Association.
Per reports: "Martin, 17, picked up Skittles and iced tea from a 7-Eleven that Sunday, then headed back toward his father’s girlfriend's home on a rainy, drizzly night. Martin put on his hoodie and ran to take cover. Zimmerman spotted him, got out of his car and followed him."
"This guy, who is not a neighborhood watch captain – he views himself that way but he’s not – in the past 15 months called Sanford, Florida police 46 times, which doesn’t speak to someone who’s even overzealous, it’s somebody who’s paranoid," Willie Geist said.
Sharpton, like many, remains confused over why Zimmerman hasn't been arrested:
"Even under the [Stand Your Ground] law, Zimmerman would not be able to use self-defense," Sharpton said. "When Attorney [Benjamin] Crump [attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family] first contacted us, our position was the Justice Department and the state’s attorney needs to come in and investigate because…not only should Zimmerman have been immediately arrested and still should be…[but why was] the local police department dealing with a guy who was not a registered watchmen who was walking around with a 9 mm? Why are you exchanging 46 calls with a guy and not questioning the guy in the first place? There’s a lot that needs to be examined here."
Joe went on to deliver this comment: If anybody watching this show -- either live or on the Internet -- doesn’t believe that if an African-American shot a 17-year-old white boy walking through a neighborhood carrying ice tea and Skittles…if they do not believe that an arraignment would be scheduled by the next morning for the African-American shooter and that the white boy’s family would be called immediately…that an office would actually drive to the white boy’s home and sit down with the parents on the couch and console them because they have lost a 17-year-old son. If you don’t believe that this case and the handling of this case by the people in Florida has nothing to do with race, you are living in a fantasy world.
Rev. Sharpton will hold a rally on Thursday at First Shiloh Missionary Baptist in Sanford, Florida.