An Iowa congressman said Sunday that President Barack Obama politicized the fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, and that his killer George Zimmerman should never have been prosecuted.
Zimmerman’s acquittal was returned by a jury of six women in Sanford, Fla., Saturday night, declaring him not guilty of second-degree murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter. The news sparked late-night protests around the nation but no violence.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told “Fox News Sunday,” that the evidence didn’t support prosecution.
“The president engaged in this and turned it into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with law and order,” King said. He was referring to Obama’s reaction after the shooting in which the president said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
“I regret that this all happened,” King added. “I'm sorry that it was turned into a race issue by the media. Otherwise, it would have been tried or not tried depending on the laws that were there. This is unfortunate.”
King wasn’t the only lawmaker who praised the verdict. The prosecution had the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Zimmerman wasn’t acting in self-defense.
“There were plenty of reason doubt there,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
On the same program, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the incident never should have happened since Sanford police had told Zimmerman to back off from confronting Martin. With a possible civil case to come, Cole said, “we will be talking about this case for a long time to come.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he doesn’t always agree with jury decisions, but that's how the system works.
“I support the system,” Reid said, adding that Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, is “so unusual and that it’s up to the state to revisit that.”