In a press conference last week, President Barack Obama commented on the case of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Florida, who was killed by George Zimmerman, a community watch volunteer.
Press Conference reported on Trayvon Martin story.
Question: Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society — the so-called do not — I’m sorry — Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that? Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.
But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together — federal, state and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
So I’m glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what’s taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. Thank you.
Florida appoints special prosecutor
Thursday night, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi appointed a special prosecutor to take over the state’s investigation of the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month.
Earlier in the day, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. said he was temporarily stepping aside as a result of criticism of his investigation Trayvon’s death.
State Attorney Angela B. Corey replaces State Attorney Norman Wolfinger, who had been handling the investigation since Sanford police handed over the case last week, according to a statement from Scott’s office.
Scott also named Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to lead a task force after Corey completes her investigation. The task force will “conduct public hearings, take testimony and recommend actions – legislative and otherwise – to both protect our citizens and safeguard our rights,” Scott said.
Trayvon was shot once in the chest Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch activist in the gated community where Trayvon was returning home from a 7-11 store. Zimmerman, 28, scuffled with Trayvon and claimed he shot him in self-defense. Trayvon was unarmed.
Lee said Florida law prevented him from charging Zimmerman, which has sparked outrage nationwide.
Last week, as criticism grew, Sanford police turned the investigation over to the State Attorney’s Office. A Seminole County grand jury is to review evidence April 10.
This week, as the story exploded nationwide through social media, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced that they had begun a civil rights investigation.
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