President Obama Says “I Could Have Been Trayvon Martin 35 Years Ago” While Protests Continue

| July 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

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President Obama on Friday called on Americans to respect the verdict handed down in the George Zimmerman trial and compared himself to slain black teenager Trayvon Martin. We don’t know if this is a signal that there may not be any Justice Department charges but he the President was very clear in that race could have played a part in the teenager’s death.

The president said despite the controversy involving the Zimmerman trial, there have been strides in racial issues in America.The nation shouldn’t “lose sight” of that, he noted.

But, he warned, “It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society or that racism has been eliminated.”

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“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama said during a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room.

Obama’s latest statements on the case come amid protests across the nation over the acquittal of Zimmerman.

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The 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed Martin, 17, during a confrontation in Sanford, Florida, last year in what became one of the nation’s most racially charged criminal cases.

Prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin, then stalked and killed him, while Zimmerman said he was simply acting in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
Obama said that he had been subjected to racial profiling while growing up — and that most black men have.

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“There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of being followed in a department store — that includes me,” Obama said.

He noted that a perception in the black community surrounding the Martin tragedy is that “if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

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African Americans view the case through “a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away,” he said.

Obama also said that before he was elected to office, he had witnessed drivers locking their doors and women clutching their purses when he walked by.

But he said Americans are aware of the “history of racial disparity in our criminal laws” in the country.

Obama said that he and his White House staff were “bouncing around ideas” about racial profiling and called for a review of Florida’s “stand your ground” laws.

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“If Trayvon Martin was of age and he was armed, could he have ‘stood his ground’ on that sidewalk?” Obama asked.

The president said despite the controversy involving the Zimmerman trial, there have been strides in racial issues in America.

The nation shouldn’t “lose sight” of that, he noted.

But, he warned, “It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society or that racism has been eliminated.”

Meanwhile there have been protests taking place all over the country and some have actually resulted in violence.

Late into the night on Monday, after a round of violent protests ripped through Los Angeles in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Mayor Eric Garcetti called for calm.

The Los Angeles Times reported that by the time the sun came up, at least 13 people had been arrested after police say they began breaking windows and stopping traffic.

“The trial that we saw in Florida has ignited passions, but we have to make sure it will not ignite the city,” Garcetti said at a late-night press briefing,. “The Martin family was very clear — that those who sympathize with their plight, the best way to honor their son and their loved one is in a non-violent manner.”

Hundreds, if not thousands of people, are expected to gather at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta Saturday afternoon to demand that federal civil rights charges be filed against George Zimmerman who was acquitted in the shooting death of Martin.

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