President Barack Obama made a surprise visit on Friday to the White House briefing room, where he reflected on comments made last year in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case.
When Martin, 17, was shot and killed in Florida last February by Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, the president had said the teen could have been his son.
Reflecting upon the statement more than a year later, Obama said, “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
Zimmerman was acquitted last week of second-degree murder and manslaughter after shooting Martin in self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. There were protests in several states after Zimmerman’s verdict.
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Touching on his own brush with racism, Obama continued:
“I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experience and a history that doesn’t go away,” Obama said. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
The president called for a review of the “Stand Your Ground” laws.