Mark O’Mara said if his client George Zimmerman were black he would never have been charged in the death of Trayvon Martin, remarks that stirred controversy just minutes after Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder.
O’Mara addressed reporters close to one hour after the jury delivered its not guilty verdict, boasting of his prowess in the courtroom and laughing as he answered questions about the case.
One reporter asked Mark O’Mara how he thought the case would be different if the races were reversed, and Zimmerman were black.
“Things would have been different for George Zimmerman if he was black for this reason: he would never have been charged with a crime,” O’Mara said. “It seems as though what happened was an event that was being looked into by the Sanford Police Department, and quite honestly, as we now know, looked into quite well. I have taken advantage of police departments who have not gone a good investigation of crimes because that’s what I do for a living. When I looked into Sanford Police Department investigation they had done quite a good job.”
O’Mara said the case instead became a cause for civil rights activists. They decided that Zimmerman was a scapegoat, he said, adding that the defendant has a “non racist” history.
“If only those who decided to condemn Mr. Zimmerman as quickly and as viciously as they did would have taken just a little bit of time to find out who it was they were condemning, it never would have happened,” O’Mara said. “And it certainly wouldn’t have happened if he was black, because those people who decided that they were going to make him the scapegoat would not have.”
The remarks caused controversy, as critics saw Mark O’Mara as insensitive and inflammatory.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara may incite a riot by his arrogance alone. Talk about adding insult to injury.
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) July 14, 2013
O’Mara’s press conference was in stark contrast to the one that followed. Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Martin family, addressed reporters in a somber tone as he spoke about the verdict and the grief the Martin family was going through.
When asked about race, Crump instead took a chance to reflect on the case.
“Well, we know that a 17-year-old unarmed boy was killed,” he said, in contrast to the answer Mark O’Mara gave. “And I think all America has to dig deep in their hearts to find how we as a society can learn from this tragedy and make sure it’s not repeated.”