Obama says Martin's death a tragedy, asks nation to respect call for calm
President Barack Obama spoke about the killing of Trayvon Martin on March 23, 2012 at the White House.
July 14th, 2013
02:58 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama says Martin's death a tragedy, asks nation to respect call for calm

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama called on Sunday for "calm reflection" following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The president, in a statement, acknowledged an emotionally charged climate but concluded that "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (778 Responses)
  1. John Tater

    Don't believe this rises to a level requiring a presidential statement. The police took one look at Zimmerman's battered head and judged it to be self-defense on day one, decided not to press charges. A preacher decided to make it a civil rights episode, the media liked that idea, and off we went. And while Trayvon can surely be grieved, not clear why he should be "honored."

    July 14, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Greg

    Honor a thug? What lesson is that? While we're at it, lets also honor the Ft. hood shooter as well as the D.C. Sniper! Martin had many alternatives to the violent response he chose...he could have waited for the cops to come, run away or knock on a door and ask someone for help (if he felt threatened)....maybe even hang up on his girlfriend and called the cops or his parents. He did none of those...instead, he chose to beat up a person who had the right to defend himself with a weapon he was lawfully allowed to carry. He got shot trying to hurt someone who was acting in a lawful manner. The way to save lives and "honor" Martin is not to make the same decision of violence and excuse it as anything other that what is was...stupidity.

    July 14, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. zelsdorf2

    How can you honor a man who attacks another and is killed during that act? Trayvon was in Florida because he had been kicked out of school for attacking a school bus driver. That info was kept out of the media because they needed a narrative which make Trayvon the victim and George the perp. That he was told by a dispatcher not to follow Martin had no force of law. I can follow anyone I choose. You do not get to attack me because I do. Zimmerman described Trayvon and a black, Trayvon described Zimmerman as a cracker. Who is the race hater?

    July 14, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Jenny Gray

    While I agree for the request to respect the jury's decision and to reflect calmly upon this tragedy rather than exacerbate the situation, the rest of his comments are inappropriate. I agree with Elizabeth Morris that if President Obama was going to mention T. Martin sympathetically, he should have presented G. Zimmerman in the same light in order to present an objective and unbiased statement. President Obama's actions are disappointing and unfortunately, expected.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. asdfdsa

    I thought this was the USA where a jury of your peers deterimes guilt and innocence. The jury has spoken. That's what makes this country better than any other country in the world. And does any realize that Zimmerman is Latino, not Caucasian? Might as well blame the whites again though.....easier to blame them than anyone else

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Guest

    Cool!. He takes time to make a comment on this but on NSA leaks and IRS scandal he does not?

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Mr. President, why should we honor Trayvon Martin? He started the violence by confronting George ZImmerman, who by the way was doing what we all want our neighbors to do, reporting suspicious activity to the police. No sir, Everyone has a right to defend themselves when attacked.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. tman

    Why doesnt he invite zimmerman and trayvons parents to beer at the white house

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Shaunlee

    Hold up what we need to do is get justice as you see white men think they can get away with murder an now it's starting to look like they can. I'm from Tennessee and 2 African Americans got killed by white police officers and all they got was suspended and there's a video showing they shot them for no reason. But as I'm seeing it now all we are to you is another African American dead with no justice to be served. Maybe we need a new president that can take care of this because it seems like you can't.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. tonyh110

    Obama scorns our constitution (and uses every legal loophole to usurp it) and when the legal system doesn't give him 'his way' that too.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. TStewart

    A very poor statement from a very poor President. Obviously aimed at those who believe that "justice" was not served. Wanting to "honor" a young man whose highest aspirations seemed to be that of a successful thug and burglar? A young man whom the jury and many Americans believed ambushed, and tried the "knock out game" on, a citizen watchman who was merely doing what he promised his community he would do. Watch for suspicious non-residents and report to the police. Yes, he followed young Mr. Martin. According to his testimony(which again the jury believed) he lost sight of him and was returning to his vehicle to await the police that HE had called. And our president calls protecting oneself from someone who is bashing his face and bouncing his head off the concrete, gun violence! What about the over 11,000 other black men and women who have lost their live to "gun violence" committed by other blacks since Trayvon Martin was shot? Where is your condemnation of this violence? Don't assume that removing guns would stop it, because it would not! Where is your outreach to the young inner-city blacks who have no future because there are no jobs? Where is the "Presidential" encouragement to these black youths from the first black president? Mr. Obama, you have failed them like you have failed the rest of America.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Rod

    I disagree with this verdict just like I've disagreed with other verdicts in the past. The OJ trial comes to mind. I strongly disagreed with that. Someone was murdered and the murderer wasn't convicted. But we have no choice but to live with the system of justice at hand. In the end most people get what they deserve (i.e. OJ) one way or the other. I hope this at least educates other vigilante wannabe's that may want to take the law into their own hands that they're playing with fire.

    July 14, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Ann Terhune

    As usual Obama has spoken with grace. If I were the Blacks in Florida, I would be rioting. This verdict is a travesty. Zimmerman should have been found guilty of manslaughter.

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. brown

    I'm surprised that a neighborhood punk thug like Trayvon garners special mention from
    no other than the President of the United States.

    It is no wonder this once spectacular country is beginning to resemble a third word under developed country.

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    ... Since the media and the race hustlers has label George Zimmerman as a white Hispanic, does that make President Obama a white African American... If the race hustlers can't play blacks against whites, then there is silence... I only hope that black Americans come to understand that whites do not hate them... And that the race hustlers are using them for political purposes all the while not really improving black on black crime in inter cities of America... I think America is growing tired of the race hustlers who never solve the problems, and always put the blame on others... The best thing for America to do, is create an environment of respect for each other...

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Matt

    "Honor" a kid who was acting like a thug just because if our president had a son, he would "look like him"? And not a word about George Zimmerman who was trying to watch out for his neighbors?

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Greg

    HMMMM...What was wrong with him saying it could have been his son? Could have been mine or yours, white or black, right? If it where your son I wonder where your stance would be. Maybe, the next Zimmerman will get your kid or you, then what will you say? Think and be compassionate of others before showing your inner ignorance!!!

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. aj

    You prevent violence by keeping people employed, lowering taxes, and giving people more personal freedom in their lives and medical care.

    Freedom, Mr. Obama.

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. mike

    "But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken"
    " That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin."

    Our communities can honor everyone by making sure kids do not grow up and become thugs irregardless of race.

    July 14, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. David Jenkins

    In times where the court , public , press/news , police ,or president have failed / may have failed its people/ person "we the nation must remember that there is only ONE True Judge ", He has never failed at any time day or night . He sea's All , knows All , hears All and He will judge All . Yes this includes you too . All is All . Bless it be The Lord of Host . Amen

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Snuffy

    Obama should ask himself if he is doing everything he can as president. More citizens are open to doing more as long as our government is doing their job. Last I looked, our government leaders are busy stuffing their pockets while searching for their next publicity stunt.

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. Que

    He can get the person he appointed as Attorney General of The United States Eric Holder to file charges against George Zimmerman. I understand he doesn't want anymore "street justice" but justice did not prevail in this case. There is more to be done and as President of these United States there is more that he could do!!! That statement just is not working for me at all!!

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Sanjay

    It is serious issue stereotyping, and people should ask why a boy was killed when he did no crime and was just in rush to catch the game. He was still a young boy who should not be subject to such prejudices. Yes the other was security guard jack booted thinking he was going to get someone, a black person running there must be a crime. But still the tragedy cannot be washed away. One race cannot be criminal stereotyped and that is shameful.

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Sigi

    Hmm, the circle of compassion and understanding...dream on...a lot folks would rather suscribe to hate and/or arming yourself to the teeth.

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Steven

    I just dont get it? GZ was doing his volunteered job by watching out for his neighborhood, a suspicious person (TM) was walking through the neighborhood and GZ tried to confront him to see who he was. TM ran and then ambushed him. TM could have ran home or called 911 if he thought he was in real danger or just stopped and talked to GZ but no, he called his friend and then took the aggressive posture and attacked GZ who then became the victim and defended his life. Its a tragedy that TM lost his life but he had other options vs attack a adult male. Twist this story how you please, but its better to be judged by judged by 12 then carried by 6.

    July 14, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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