- (Photo: ABC News video screenshot)
In one of their first public interviews since finding out that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter of their son, Trayvon Martin's parents have said they are praying to be forgiving, in response to prayers from Zimmerman's father and mother.
"That's a hard question," Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, reflected in an interview with ABC News on Thursday, after being told that Zimmerman's parents have said they are deeply sorry and that they pray for Trayvon Martin every day.
Tracy Martin continued: "There's no winner in this situation. Obviously we are devastated more. I just think that all the circumstances surrounding books being written and the mischaracterization of us as parents – I just don't feel it's really sincere, but I continue to pray that we find peace and strength to be forgiving parents."
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, noted that she felt "shock" and "disgust" when she first heard the news that jury members came to the conclusion that Zimmerman is not guilty and that he truly feared for his life when he shot dead her son during a confrontation on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
"I really did not believe that he was not guilty," she said.
A number of protests have broken out in America following the verdict, with many continuing to claim that race was a motivating factor in the shooting and that Zimmerman should have been found guilty.
"Not only are white males killing black boys but Latinos (George Zimmerman) feel free to kill our black boys as well. The verdict leaves this nation at a moral crossroads. We have to decide as a society if we are going to allow black boys to be counted as children of God who are worthy of human dignity," the National Black Church Initiative said in a statement this week.
Tracy Martin said that he didn't think the verdict was fair, calling it "devastating," and added: "As loving parents and God-fearing people we just continue to pray that whatever was in (the jury's) heart was what they intended to."
Martin's father noted that he wishes the jury could have known Trayvon for who he was.
"They didn't know him as a human being, so I just really wish they had an opportunity to really know who Trayvon was, and put that in context with what their decision was," Tracy Martin added.
George Zimmerman's family has insisted that he is not a racist and that he acted in self-defense when he killed the African American teenager. Both his parents and his brother have revealed that they have received numerous death threats and are being forced to live in hiding now that the defendant is a free man.
"It's a reality that some people don't respect this verdict and think they want to take justice into their own hands," Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of George Zimmerman, told CNN's Piers Morgan.
"I never thought that we would see so much hatred. And the hatred is not brought on by any racial incident, it was brought on by attorneys being totally untruthful, other people involved having a certain narrative, a certain agenda, and making this situation race-based and a political issue," Robert Zimmerman Sr., the defendant's father, said in an earlier interview.