By Matt Pearce
12:17 PM EDT, July 18, 2013
For the first time since George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering their son, Trayvon Martin's parents gave TV interviews Thursday morning to decry the verdict and ask the federal government to continue to investigate.
Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, said in a "CBS This Morning" interview that she was "stunned absolutely" by the not-guilty verdict handed down Saturday by the six-woman jury in Seminole County, Fla.
"I thought surely that he [Zimmerman] would be found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter at the least," Fulton said. "But I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody's son that was trying to get home."
In the same interview with CBS, Martin's father, Tracy Martin, said he wanted Americans to know "that Trayvon was a fun-loving child. He was our child. We miss him dearly."
Martin added, "Just to have your child's life taken away from you like that, it hurts. And it's a process that will take a long time to start the recovery from."
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman after a struggle, which started after Zimmerman began following an unarmed Martin home from a gas station on Feb. 26, 2012. Zimmerman's acquittal on a second-degree murder charge sparked demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities after the case highlighted ongoing racial discord across the country.
Part of demonstrators' pleas have been for a repeal of "stand your ground" laws like Florida's, which remove Americans' legal duty to retreat from violence if it's safe to do so; protesters have also called for the U.S. Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
"We are looking at all legal options right now," the Martins' attorney, Benjamin Crump, told CBS' Charlie Rose. "We're asking the Department of Justice to answer that question for us, Charlie. Can a private citizen with a gun profile and follow our children home? Because the United States Supreme Court doesn't even allow the police to profile people based on race, so this is an issue that we need to know because we need to know what to tell our children."
The parents largely hit the same points later Thursday morning on the "Today" show. Sybrina Fulton told NBC's Matt Lauer that she thought the ongoing protests "should be peaceful protests."
"They have a right to be heard, but we want to make sure that it’s peaceful, that nobody gets hurt, that nobody gets arrested" and property isn't damaged, Fulton said.
Tracy Martin added of Zimmerman, "forgiveness takes time."
“The healing process is a long process and the forgiving process is a long process," Martin said.
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