July 19th, 2013
01:37 PM ET
9 months ago

Obama: 'Trayvon Martin could have been me'

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama spoke out publicly on Friday for the first time on the Trayvon Martin case following the acquittal of George Zimmerman last week.

Appearing at the White House, Obama injected a personal perspective on the verdict as well as a legal interpretation of the outcome.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. dee

    He should be working on trying to heal the racial tension. Racism exist but it is not only the "white". That are some Blacks that are very racist as well. We have to unite as a country and try to stop racism from all this is just not once sided.

    July 19, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Keep stirring the pot obama, all you do is create more division.

    July 19, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Marc L

    So Mr president, are you saying you were violent and would have just beat someone up?

    July 19, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Jim

    Why does the media persist that the Zimmerman-Martin episode had anything to do with race? Did anyone esle listen tot he 911 call? The media tells us that George was told not to pursue, but that is no accurate in the context of him meeting Martin, and the event escalating. George already left his vehicle, was already in pursuit to see where he went when he was told "we don't need you to do that". To which he started back to his vehicle and confronted by Trayvon. That the media and our leaders continue to use this to further divide the races makes me sick...

    July 19, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. damn John

    He could have been any of us, as long as mankind tolerates gun usage and laws for their use that come straight out of the pages of the old west. -> FORWARD!

    July 19, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Krish

    When the President chips in, on legal matters of a case – you know that the country is not going in the right direction.

    July 19, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. pitt04

    ...Humble and unbiased.....Barack Obama is....

    July 19, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. The REAL Truth...

    Oh I can't wait to see all the right wing hater responses on this one....

    July 19, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Soul search

    President Obama made a very touching statement. The words seemed to come straight from his heart.

    July 19, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. James PDX

    I find it ironic that when Obama says Trayvon, who was found to have marijuana in his system at the time of his death, could have been him, in the attached photo Obama looks completely stoned.

    I'm tired of this case already. Did Zimmerman profile Martin or provoke the attack? We'll never know. The jury admitted as much when they ruled not guilty. There is just no sense in further flaming the racial hatred that has been flying around. We don't need a race war because of one pseudo vigilante neighborhood watch volunteer showing poor judgment and a stoned teenager doing the same. Time to move on.

    July 19, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Sirned

    It's time to turn off the political pendants and reflect on what Obama said. Trayon could have been me. As a white person I have never experienced store clerks following me or car doors being locked as I walked by. How terrible that would be. Today I'm going to listen more and try and put myself in their shoes...No more hate for hate sake as so many comments I read on news sites. It's all of our country and if we keep this hate up we will destroy the very soul of what made this country the founding fathers founded...Stop the hatred and look in the mirror...

    July 19, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. bob

    President Barack Obama said Friday that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago".
    Does that mean that if Mr. Obama were followed by an Hispanic man he would pummel him and tell him he was going to kill him? This does not seem like a temperment we would want in a President of the United States.

    July 19, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. zoe lightbender

    I'd have more respect for the Martin family if they told the truth about their son and use their foundation to help keep other teens in school.

    July 19, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Raydar

    Shame on the President for those comments. He is fanning the flames set by the press and a few supposed "leaders".
    The trial of George Zimmerman was fair, conducted as any other case would have been except for the guilty before proven innocent mentality of the press.
    The issue here isn't what happeed that night as much as it is the current laws in Florida. That is where peopels anger should be. A jury found that there wasn't enough evidence given to them to convict Mr. Zimmerman. I understand the feelings of the parents but our officials should know better.

    July 19, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Rooster

    When you strip it all down, it might have been anyone that was conducting a "ground and pound" against someone who turns out to have a firearm (or a kinfe, or superior fighting skills, or, or, or). It has nothing to do with white or black, brown or yellow, green or pink. Anyone who throws a punch stands to win or lose, and win or lose big. In my mind, once the shooting happens, the only two questions are (1) did you fear for your life or body such that you thought you had to use deadly force to protect it?, and (2) did you do something criminal that got you in the situation where you feared for your life or body (in which case, it doesn't matter, you don't get the benefit of self defense).

    I get it that some believe that it all came down to the shooter's word (and some corroborating evidence that the shooter received blows and was pinned) and that some seem to think that the shooter's word would have not carried so much weight if the person on top was not black. If it lends any comfort, it wouldn't to me nor to most of the people I know.

    July 19, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. serpicowasright

    "if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."

    It did happen, look up the Roderick Scott case (An African American man who shot a teen that was about to attack him), he was rightfully declared not guilty. I hate that this administration and the mainstream media is creating a race issue where one does not exist.

    There is certainly a race issue in other aspects of law enforcement (The failed drug war) but in regards to Zimmerman he was not a racist.

    July 19, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. zero

    Okay I'm sorry, but just let it go. Thus far we've proven a few things:
    1) GZ confirmed by many different groups is not racist
    2) BOTH, I repeat BOTH the prosecution and defense AGREED on the jury. As they BOTH believed that the jury would give a fair judgement.
    3) GZ is by far not the most amazing person in the world, but TM was a bad kid too. Here's a good question you have to ask. Where were TM's friends during the trial? GZ had a lot come up and speak for him. TM had virtually no one. So yeah I'm sorry but TM was not a good kid. Did he deserve to die? No, but the image he was trying to paint himself in did not help.
    4) The law of second-degree murder is not racist. It is very clearly stated how it works, cut and dry. It can be applied to anyone of any gender or race.

    July 19, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. JIm from NJ

    "if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."

    Thats right, it would have never made it to the media

    July 19, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    White vs Black? Is Zimmerman white, and I just missed it?

    July 19, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. serpicowasright

    "if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."

    It did happen, look up the Roderick Scott case. He was right fully declared not guilty. The Zimmerman case should not be about race. There are a lot race issues in the justice system but this is not one of them.

    July 19, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Lim

    Too bad there wasn't a Zimmerman 35 years ago. We wouldn't have to deal with this racist president.

    July 19, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Steveo

    "Americans, Obama said, are aware of the "history of racial disparity in our criminal laws" in the country"
    ------------
    True BUT and I will use California's 3 strike rule as an example. If you already have 2 strikes WHY are you still putting yourself out there? Why are you stealing? Why do you have crack in your pocket? Why do you have a joint in your car? Why? Why? Why?

    Folks know it is not fair, yet why do they keep setting themselves up? Before that drug deal is planned you already know, before that robbery is planned you already know! Personal responsibility for some has gone the way of the T-Rex.

    July 19, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. 82ndABNVET

    Here we go again.

    July 19, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Anne Flynn

    This only records the first 3+ minutes of President Obama's remarks. Where can I view his entire statement?

    July 19, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Al Sharppen

    Half of America wishes it was...

    July 19, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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