‘If Trayvon Was White What Would Have Happened?’: Rachel Jeantel Says Jury Cleared Zimmerman ‘Because of Race’ as Protesters Take to Streets across America with Violent Clashes in LA and Oakland
Meghan Keneally, Daily Mail (London), July 16, 2013
Trayvon Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel, revealed last night that she ‘had a feeling’ that the largely white-female jury would find George Zimmerman not guilty because of their race.
‘If Trayvon was white and he had a hoodie on, would that have happened?’ said Miss Jeantel, who was the last person to speak to the teen.
Meanwhile protests continued throughout the U.S. as thousands of people gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, as well as smaller crowds in New York City and Washington D.C.
The slain teenager’s friend, who was one of the prosecution’s star witnesses said after the verdict she felt ‘disappointed, angry, upset, question, and mad’.
During the trial, defence lawyer Don West repeatedly asked Miss Jeantel to speak up and the jury said that they could not hear her, so she used an interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight to explain that an untreated overbite has caused her speech issues for much of her life.
‘I had to have surgery to push it back and right now I don’t want to do it because it would take a year to heal,’ she said. ‘Words I can say–it can’t come out right.’
She took shots at Mr West, saying ‘he’s lucky I’m a Christian’–as that is the only thing that has prevented her from ‘cussing’ him out.
Miss Jeantel said that she believed the jury misinterpreted much of her two days of testimony, saying that neither she nor Martin used the word ‘cracka’ as a racial slur.
Instead they consider it a common way to describe how a man like Zimmerman was acting at the time of the February 2012 incident, she added.
She defined the word as fitting ‘a person who acts like they’re like a police, a security guard acting like a police (officer)’.
She said she is certain that there was a struggle between Zimmerman and Martin because his Android phone went off by one of them touching the screen.
‘What do you think was going through George’s mind that night: “I’m finally going to get one,”‘ she said of what she thought the neighborhood watchman was looking–and hoping–for at the time given the spate of break ins.
Miss Jeantel, who seemed much more confident on the CNN set next to her lawyer than she did on the witness stand, touched on a number of the criticisms that she faced both in the courtroom and on social media, including her attitude, choice of words, and her decision not to attend her friend’s funeral.
‘I didn’t put Trayvon in that casket… I did not plan for that week to be at a funeral,’ she said.
Juror B37 said that the way Miss Jeantel spoke and the phrases that she used caused some of her testimony to get lost in translation.
‘I didn’t think it was very credible but I felt very sorry for her… I think she felt inadequate in front of everyone because of her education and communication skills,’ the juror told Mr Cooper.
When that quote was played for Miss Jeantel she said that she felt angry about the juror’s comments, offering instead that generational differences caused bigger problems in terms of getting the point across.
‘Well, the jury, they see their facts. My thoughts of the jury, they old, that’s old school people. We in a new school, our generation, my generation.’
Miss Jeantel also used her CNN interview as a time to paint a different picture of her slain friend than the one that defense built, bringing up the fact that his bloodstream showed low amounts of marijuana.
She said that while she doesn’t smoke marijuana, Martin did about twice a week–a practice that she feels is common in their area.
‘Weed for Trayvon… it don’t make him go crazy it just make him go hungry,’ she said.
She vehemently denied Zimmerman’s claims that Martin was peeking in the windows of houses on his walk home–which led the neighborhood watchman to believe he was going to rob a home in the area.
‘Trayvon is not a thug, they need to know a definition of a thug to judge,’ she said.
She told CBS Miami that she told Martin to run on the night he died: ‘I kept telling him to run, run, run. run.
Miss Jeantel said she had thought the sentence would be harsher.
‘Because they had asked for manslaughter information, right? Clarification on it. So I was like ‘yeah, ok we gonna do it! We are getting justice! Oh, thank you Jesus’, and all that, she told the news channel.
But she said she was let down by the verdict when it came in.
“You want me to be honest? I was sleeping. Lying down because I knew what it was, I had a feeling. I was lying in my room. My auntie just came in my room and busted out crying and said ‘we didn’t get no justice. It’s like the old days, we just lost another child, we just lost Trayvon again’.’
In the third part of Pier Morgan asked his guest if there was anything she wished she’d said on the stand.
Miss Jeante answered with one word: ‘Ni***.’
She told Morgan that ‘the whole world say it’s a racist word’ but the version of the word that she testified Martin had used in reference to Zimmerman which has an ‘a’ instead of an ‘er’ does not have a racist meaning.
When Morgan asked if it meant a ‘black male,’ Miss Jeantel said it meant any type of make including a ‘Chinese’ man.
‘But n*****,’ Jeantel said, stressing the ‘er’ part is a ‘racist word.’
She told Morgan ‘I’d advise you not to be by black people… because they’re not going to have it like that.’
The first juror to speak out following the acquittal of Zimmerman revealed that half of the jury wanted to convict him for killing Martin.
Three of the six female jurors believed he was innocent from the beginning of their deliberations, while one wanted to convict the neighborhood watchman of second degree murder and the other two wanted to find him guilty of manslaughter.
In the end they all found him innocent, but that did not make them feel any better, as all six of the women reportedly broke down in tears after submitting their final votes to the foreman on Saturday.
‘It’s just hard thinking that somebody lost their life and there’s nothing else that can be done about it,’ the juror told Anderson Cooper.
‘It’s a tragedy this happened, but it happened. I think both were responsible for the situation they had gotten themselves into. I think both of them could have walked away, it just didn’t happen.’