The world watched as Trayvon Martin’s parents lived the nightmare of not only losing their teenage son, but also facing the reality that his killer was being set free on bail less than 3 months after being arrested for the murder.
In episode 3 of Paramount’s Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, we hear from Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin as they take us through their pre-trial court appearances and other happenings leading up to the trial of George Zimmerman.
In the opening scene of the episode, Trayvon’s mother draws parallels between herself and the mother of Emmet Till as two Black mothers who chose to go public with their fights for justice in honor of their sons.
“His mother could have kept the funeral private, but she wanted people to see just how wicked this country was,” Fulton says. “I never in a million years thought that I would be in the same position.”
As the episode continues, we hear both parents give brief, but chilling, accounts of what it was like coming face-to-face with their son’s killer for the first time. Trayvon’s father Tracy remembers the family’s legal team recommending that he sit as far away from George Zimmerman as possible when they arrived in court for his first bail hearing.
“The lawyer suggested that I be closer to the wall, with everybody else sitting close to the aisle,” Martin says. “Just in case my emotions ran high, I wouldn’t be able to hop over them.”
Family attorney Benjamin Crump admitted that his actions would quite possibly be unpredictable if he were in the presence of someone who took the life of his child.
“I don’t know what I would do if the person who killed my child was in front of me,” Crump said, while speaking on Martin and Fulton’s first encounter with Zimmerman. As a mother, Fulton’s course of action in the moment was to ignore her son’s murderer altogether in an effort to maintain her composure.
“I could hear a person speaking,” she said of listening to Zimmerman “apologize” in court. “But I tuned him out because I didn’t want to make myself angry.”
The episode goes on to include photos and video footage of Zimmerman at his bail hearing, as well as audio of his statement to Trayvon’s parents, that included an “apology” for taking his life. Both Fulton and Martin expressed disbelief in the sincerity of Zimmerman’s apology.
At his bond hearing, we see George Zimmerman’s lawyer Mike O’Mara attempt to paint Zimmerman as a remorseful, non-flight risk who would be financially unable to afford a high-priced bail amount. He was ultimately released on $150,000 bond, which required a $15,000 payment in order for the release to be processed.
“I just felt like $150,000 wasn’t enough money to release somebody that had taken a life,” Sybrina Fulton said.
Episode 3 of the docuseries also gives the public a first look at never-before-seen footage of the depositions of Trayvon’s friends and family, which took place before the trial began. The telling video interviews had previously been sealed to the public by the presiding judge.
Hard-to-watch video clips show several friends and family members being subjected to questioning that attempts to taint their character and credibility, as well as that of Trayvon’s before he was killed. The last of the deposition footage included in the episode show an emotionally-exhausted Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin separately being posed with the question of whether or not they used the funds raised for The Trayvon Martin Foundation to pay for their housing or fund any other personal endeavors. Fulton’s response is enough to leave anyone watching speechless.
“I’m going to flat out ask you because, the way the questions were asked, makes it sound like you gathered all of this money to steal it,” the interviewing attorney asks.
“No,” Fulton replies, holding back tears. “I would much rather have my son back.”
The episode also takes in a deep dive into George Zimmerman’s family background, his quest for acceptance among white people, the bizarre uprising of support that materialized for him following his arrest, the demise of his relationship with his wife due to his anger issues, and his failed hopes of a career in law enforcement that led to him becoming a neighborhood watchdog of the apartment community where he ultimately took Trayvon’s life.
Episode 4 of Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story airs Monday, August 20. To view previous episodes, visit the official Paramount TV website HERE.