On Tuesday, news broke that the U.S. Department of Justice would not bring charges against George Zimmerman for the slaying of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Though Attorney General Eric Holder called Martin’s death a “devastating tragedy,” he conceded that the case did not meet “the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution.”
A day before the announcement, however, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry said she hoped Martin died fighting for his life, during a speech at Cornell University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture.
“I hope [Martin] tried to stay alive. I hope he knew that he lived in a state with a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. And I hope he whooped the shit out of George Zimmerman,” Harris-Perry said. “And it’s not disreputable because he encountered a stranger who was prepared to kill him, and you know how I know? Because he killed him.”
Harris-Perry’s speech, titled “We Can’t Breathe: The Continuing Consequences of Inequality,” was first posted by the Cornell Review, the university’s “only conservative and libertarian publication.” The newspaper’s blog slammed the MSNBC host’s speech as “an hour-long comedy routine” and “an embarrassment for Cornell.”
Martin was killed three years ago on Feb. 26, 2012.