The George Zimmerman case came to "The View" in a memorable give-and-take Monday.
Whoopi Goldberg wondered if Zimmerman didn't first spot Trayvon Martin because he was a young black man.
"I think, in part," defense attorney Mark O'Mara said.
Goldberg asked why that comment wouldn't justify the Department of Justice looking into the fatal shooting. Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday of second-degree murder in Trayvon's death. (The Department of Justice is investigating whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon's civil rights, but Attorney General Eric Holder has said the bar is high for proving that Zimmerman committed a hate crime.)
O'Mara said the Justice Department talked to 45 people and didn't find any racism in Zimmerman's background.
O'Mara tried to draw a distinction: Zimmerman was looking at Trayvon as a person who was black, but Zimmerman wasn't looking at the teen solely because he was black.
"I'm trying to understand the distinction. Being black, I want to know," Goldberg said.
"Being white, I can never know," O’Mara said.
Goldberg still didn't understand the attorney's point.
So O'Mara put the question a different way.
"If because he's black, can he never look suspicious?" O’Mara asked.
There was a pause, then Goldberg said, "No. 'Cause I'm black and I walk down the street and somebody says, 'Hey, I think you might snatch my pocketbook,' I'd be a little pissed."
What do you think?
The Zimmerman case has brought to the forefront racial questions that need to be answered in the criminal justice system, but Zimmerman shouldn't be part of the conversation, O'Mara said.
The verdict has inspired protest rallies across the country.
On the ABC chatfest, O'Mara said that Zimmerman didn't act in a racially biased way.
"Now that the [race] converation is on the table, we don't need to talk about George Zimmerman anymore," O'Mara said.
Rather, O'Mara said, the conversation should concentrate on why young black males don't get a fair shake from a skewed legal system.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun