Bill O'Reilly questioned the outrage against Trayvon Martin's shooter and whether the slain teenager was innocent on his Tuesday show.
Martin was unarmed when he was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February. His death and the failure of local police to investigate Zimmerman took the country by storm last week. Reports about Martin's school record have fueled more outrage, drawing criticism for distracting from the heart of the case.
O'Reilly maintained that Martin's record was important in an interview with Jasmine Rand, a lawyer who represents the Martin family, on Tuesday. “Basically, it’s emerging that Trayvon had some problems," he said. "And the family does object to that.”
When Rand spurned the reports, O'Reilly pressed her on the issue. “In a case of this magnitude, shouldn’t the public know the history of Trayvon?" he asked. "Is there anything wrong with knowing that he was suspended three times from school?"
Rand asserted that the information had "no legal relevance to the case at hand." O'Reilly agreed with that point, but continued to question the teenager's role in his death.
"In the beginning, Trayvon was portrayed by sympathetic media as somebody who was just an innocent victim walking around," he said. He pointed out that someone claimed to have seen a scuffle between Martin and Zimmerman, and that the police report noted that Zimmerman had injuries.
He raised concerns about whether Zimmerman was being treated fairly, saying that Al Sharpton has made "very provocative statements that disallow Mr. Zimmerman from even walking the streets." He also expressed skepticism about calls for Zimmerman's arrest.
"It gets a little dicey when you have demands for an arrest when you do have a process that you actually said at the top of the interview was going according to the way you think it should go and the family thinks it should go, so I think everyone should back off a little bit," he remarked.
Rand disagreed, noting that Zimmerman is "still walking the streets."
"But he isn't walking the streets... he's in hiding because he's afraid that something might happen to him," O'Reilly responded.