President Obama- "Trayvon Could Have Been Me." - KMSP-TV

President Obama- "Trayvon Could Have Been Me."

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

From Ed Laskos:

President Obama reacting publically for the first time since the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The President calling on the nation to do some soul searching over the death of Trayvon Martin, saying the slain black teenager could have been him 35 years ago. President Obama spoke for19 minutes about race, empathizing with the pain of black Americans, saying the case brings back the hard history of racial injustice "that doesn't go away."

 

(FOX 11 / AP) Looking for positive lessons to draw from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, President Barack Obama said Friday the nation needs to do some "soul-searching," look for ways to bolster African-American boys and examine state and local laws to see if they encourage confrontations like the one in Florida.

"Where do we take this?" Obama wondered aloud in an impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room. "How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?"

The president said it's time "for all of us to some soul searching," but he also said it's generally not productive when politicians try to orchestrate a conversation.

On the positive side, he said race relations in the United States actually are getting better Looking at his own daughters and their interactions with friends, the president said, "They're better than we are. They're better than we were."

The president declined to wade into the detail of legal questions about the Florida case, saying, "Once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works."

But he said state and local laws, such as Florida's "stand your ground" statute, need a close look.

Obama said it would be useful "to examine some state and local laws to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of confrontation" that led to Martin's death. He questioned whether a law that sends the message that someone who is armed "has the right to use those firearms even if there is a way for them to exit from a situation" really promotes the peace and security that people want.

And he raised the question of whether Martin himself, if he had been armed, "could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk" and shot neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman if he felt threatened when being followed.

Obama's appearance marked his first extended comments on the Martin case since Zimmerman was acquitted last weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin's death last year. Jurors found that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot the unarmed black teenager. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department has an open investigation into the case. The department is looking into whether Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights.

Obama, who early on had said that if he had a son, the boy would have looked like Martin, on Friday drew an even more personal connection, saying that "Trayvon Martin could've been me 35 years ago."

He said that as people process the Zimmerman verdict, it's important to put the angry reaction of many African-Americans into context. Protests and demonstrations, he said, are understandable, adding that "some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through - as long as it remains nonviolent."

"It's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away," he said.

He said that distrust shadows African-American men, that they sometimes are closely followed when they shop at department stores, that they can draw nervous stares on elevators and hear car locks clicking when they walk down the street - experiences that he personally felt before becoming a well-known figure.

"It's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear," he said.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Businesses Troubled Over Garcetti's Proposal To Raise The Minimum Wage

    Businesses Troubled Over Garcetti's Proposal To Raise The Minimum Wage

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:05:20 GMT
    Los Angeles business leaders said today they were troubled by a proposal being shopped by Mayor Eric Garcetti that would raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to as much as $13.50 an hour by 2017.
    Los Angeles business leaders said today they were troubled by a proposal being shopped by Mayor Eric Garcetti that would raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to as much as $13.50 an hour by 2017.
  • Source: American Islamic Militant Said Killed In Syria

    Source: American Islamic Militant Said Killed In Syria

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:42 AM EDT2014-08-27 14:42:03 GMT
    An American man believed to have been killed in Syria was there to fight alongside an extremist militant group, most likely the Islamic State, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
    An American man believed to have been killed in Syria was there to fight alongside an extremist militant group, most likely the Islamic State, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
  • Israel, Hamas Accept Gaza War Cease-Fire

    Israel, Hamas Accept Gaza War Cease-Fire

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:57:15 GMT
    Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday that they agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war after seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 people, the vast majority Palestinians. The cease-fire was to take effect at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), but violence persisted until the last minute.
    Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday that they agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war after seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 people, the vast majority Palestinians. The cease-fire was to take effect at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT), but violence persisted until the last minute.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices