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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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BALDWIN: I want to bring in Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who held a congressional forum with Martin's parents just yesterday. She also represents the district where Trayvon Martin was shot.

Congresswoman, welcome to you. We listened to some of your roundtable yesterday. We dipped into it live on this show. And my first question is, you know, you and so many others, I know, have been very, very critical of police in this case. Do you think that after learning they did initially want to charge George Zimmerman? REP. CORRINE BROWN (D), FLA.: Well, you know what, let me just say, I want to correct one of the things that you said earlier. Captain of neighborhood watch. Self-appointed captain of neighborhood watch. That's the problem. Did not go through the training.

It is very clear when you're involved in a neighborhood watch, if the police tell you to step down, you don't follow the person, of course, you don't have a gun. You just wait on the police. That is the first thing.

BALDWIN: No, I absolutely understand.

BROWN: And I just want to be clear. It is a problem that you keep -- not just you, that the media keep saying, captain of neighborhood watch. Self-appointed. No training.

BALDWIN: We have -- ma'am, we have spoken to neighbors, though, who tell a different story, say that absolutely Zimmerman told him that he was indeed following police orders, was going back to his car. And that's when this altercation happened.

We haven't talked to Zimmerman, so I can't tell you for a fact what he was thinking that night. But I do want to tell you --


BROWN: Why did he out of the car in the first place?

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Brown, let me just get back to my question. As I said, you've been critical of police. We have learned that they initially did want to charge him, but they did not. Do you stand down on some of your criticism of police?

BROWN: Absolutely not. They have botched this every step of the way. And when did you find out that this was recommended? Yesterday. This could have just been brushed under the -- you know, the fact is that the police department have mishandled this every step of the way.

I just finished reviewing the police report. Incomplete, incomplete. I mean, you tested the young man but yet you didn't test the shooter for drugs, alcohol. You didn't -- you didn't secure the area, you didn't get the clothes. I mean, it is a disaster. It's a -- it's a disaster on the professionalism of so many police departments around this country.

And let me just say one other thing, if a police officer is involved in a shooting, he steps down. He no longer has his weapon or the -- while the investigation is going on.

BALDWIN: And the chief has. And the chief has temporarily -- and I hear the frustration. I hear it. And the thing is, as you very well know, this has gone to the FBI, DOJ's investigating it. An attorney's been appointed by the governor of the state. Why not wait -- why not wait until all that investigation happens, until that's complete and then hold this forum? BROWN: But let -- no, no. No, no. We must get this information out. Until we had this forum yesterday, you didn't know about the fact that someone had recommended that at least some charges be brought against Mr. Zimmerman. You did not know that.

So, basically, I hope this is not a cover-up, you know, the facts in the case are coming out because of the hearings and because of the marches and because of the fact that you're spot -- putting a light on this case.

BALDWIN: And I imagine in speaking with, you know, the parents yesterday, that they are incredibly appreciative for -- to you and so many others for taking this to the level that many people having, including yourself, on Capitol Hill. And this is incredibly --


BROWN: And you know what the mother said?

BALDWIN: Yes. Go ahead. What did she tell you?

BROWN: The mother said, that, you know what she said? She said this is not about black and white. This is about right and wrong. And it is wrong to disvalue (sic) a black youth life the way this young man has been mistreated, the way he has been profiled. And you know what, you never would have known it unless the 9/11 (sic) tapes was released. You would not have known all of this.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman, let's get to the right and wrong, to her point. Incredibly, incredibly tragic. But why not take this moment to take this whole thing a step further and talk about gun violence and gun control?

You have a 6-year-old shot and killed right on her front porch in Chicago very recently, a horrendous school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, last month. Why not take it a step further and talk guns?

BROWN: Well, you know, I'm very happy that we are talking guns and we are talking violence. In addition to that, people are coming up to me, they're talking education. How can we make things better for the youth? This is energizing youth all over.

A hundred youth came up from Orlando yesterday. So they're getting involved. They understand the importance of registering and voting, because they understand that if it wasn't for elected officials speaking up, this would have been shoved under the rug.

So, yes, we need to talk about the disparity as far as what exists in this country, as far as health care is concerned, as far as education, as far as opportunity for jobs. Yes, let's have this debate. Let's put it on the table.

BALDWIN: A lot of people were aware of this before we heard about it, you know, from Congress. It certainly percolated in Sanford many weeks ago, and here on this show as well. But I want to talk about something that happened, Congresswoman Brown, on the House floor earlier today. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The member will suspend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The member will --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These words -- you have shown your man --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The member will suspend. The chair must remind --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) require you, what you do justly --


BALDWIN: Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush removed from the floor while talking about Trayvon Martin. He was wearing a hoodie. Would you, would your fellow African-American lawmakers be as concerned about this case if Trayvon wasn't black?

BROWN: Oh, let me tell you something. We had an incident in my area where a young, white female was murdered. And I was just as concerned. Absolutely. I care about all of the children.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Brown, what was her name?

BROWN: The young lady that got killed?

BALDWIN: Yes, ma'am.

BROWN: In Orange County.

BALDWIN: What was her name?

BROWN: Yes, the young lady that got killed. No, no. The point of the matter --

BALDWIN: Do you remember?

BROWN: I don't remember her name. But we had all kinds of rallies in the community in Jacksonville that I participated in. And I made sure that the sheriff's department had the money they need to pursue the case.

So just don't try to act like this is just about this one black male. This is about all of the children. And, in fact, the Congressional Black Caucus is the conscience of the Congress. And we constantly work to make things better.

And you know, I served in this Congress for a long time. And I have seen what we call a reverse Robin Hood, robbing from the poor and working people to give tax breaks to the rich. We talk about it all the time. How can we elevate it? How can we make a difference?

You talking about deficits. We're talking about investment in young people. And how to give them opportunities. And yes, how to stop profiling. I mean, it -- the point is, I really do believe to whom God has given much, much is expected. And we're here to try to make a difference for all young people.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Corrine Brown --

BROWN: I often say when America have a cold, African-Americans have pneumonia.

BALDWIN: I hear the passion in your voice, I appreciate the dialogue and let's continue it. Congresswoman Brown, I appreciate it.

And just want to let you know, we hope you tune in Friday night at 8 o'clock for a special town hall, hosted by Soledad O'Brien. She's going to examine the racial tension in our country right now and how this neighborhood tragedy in Sanford, Florida, became a nationwide story. Eight o'clock, Friday night Eastern.

We have also now just gotten word, the health care arguments have ended. The last chance for the Obama administration to make their case. Jeff Toobin has left the Supreme Court. Find out what happened inside today, next.


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