President Obama- "Trayvon Could Have Been Me." - Fox 2 News Headlines

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>>

  • US Special Forces Tried But Failed To Find Hostages

    US Special Forces Tried But Failed To Find Hostages

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:11 AM EDT2014-08-21 14:11:04 GMT
    President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, officials say.
    President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, officials say.
  • President Obama: US Won't Stop Confronting Islamic State

    President Obama: US Won't Stop Confronting Islamic State

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:11 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:11:12 GMT

    The United States stood firm Wednesday in its fight with Islamic State militants who beheaded a U.S. journalist in Iraq, pledging to continue attacking the group despite its threats to kill another American hostage. The U.S. military continued its airstrikes against the group as President Barack Obama denounced the group as a "cancer" threatening the entire region.

    The United States stood firm Wednesday in its fight with Islamic State militants who beheaded a U.S. journalist in Iraq, pledging to continue attacking the group despite its threats to kill another American hostage. The U.S. military continued its airstrikes against the group as President Barack Obama denounced the group as a "cancer" threatening the entire region.

  • Obama Struggles To Find His Role After Brown Death, Ferguson

    Obama Struggles To Find His Role After Brown Death, Ferguson

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:30 AM EDT2014-08-19 14:30:45 GMT
    When racial tensions erupted midway through his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama came to Philadelphia to decry the "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." Over time, he said, such wounds, rooted in America's painful history on race, can be healed.
    When racial tensions erupted midway through his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama came to Philadelphia to decry the "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." Over time, he said, such wounds, rooted in America's painful history on race, can be healed.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

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