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. Disgusted with miscarriage of justice

    Each of the jurors, & all who agree with them, should have an opportunity to live TM's experience. I'm a white, middle-aged woman. I sometimes walk my dog or walk to my neighborhood store after dark. If an unknown man stalked me then exited his car to approach me on foot, like TM, I would perceive that as a threat & posture to protect myself. So would you. Once GZ alerted 911 of suspicious activity, his roll as watch cptn ended. Exiting his car he became the assailent. RIP Tray you deserved better.

    July 14, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Lauren

    Some thoughts on the hypocrisy of the Zimmerman supporters:
    1) You refer to Trayvon as a thug who we shouldn't honor. Yet somehow Zimmerman should be revered as a defender of his neighborhood. Yet you dismiss his police record for assault!!! His background should have disqualified him from being a neighborhood watchman

    2) You comment on what Trayvon should have done, but disregard that Zimmerman, who was given specific instruction on the course of action he should take, totally disregarded those instructions.
    3) You blame the child & hold the minor accountable for the outcome of events. I guess the child is responsible for his abuse according to these supporters. Or, the women walking home who is confronted by a rapist, I guess if she kicks her attacker's ass & he decides to shot her in self
    defense, she was in the wrong?
    3) Stand your ground goes both ways.
    4) Who should have gone home works both ways.
    Remember Zimmerman was the only one given instructions on being a neighborhood watchman & how to proceed on the evening in question.

    July 14, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. just think about it

    Obama has made it abundantly clear with this statement, that he is not only an incompetent president, but that he is also an incompetent lawyer. It is shocking that this man supposedly went to Harvard law school and supposedly graduated with high grades. His complete ignorance of the laws of this country are shocking.

    July 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. leamill

    Shut up Obama, you have caused enough problems you racist. Keep your big mouth shut, this isn't about YOU and YOUR political agenda.

    July 14, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Steve

    White America; what I have learned from this case:

    The law protects white men who prejudge and profile black youth. The law protects white men with guns who pursue unarmed black youth with hostility. If a black youth effectively defends himself against a hostile white man who has pursued the black youth with a gun, the white man has cause to shoot and kill the black youth. So say's the law. If a white man has killed a black youth, the white man can expect to enjoy an all white jury.

    This is White America. If you disagree, switch the words white and black in the above paragraph and tell me what you would call that America.

    July 14, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Clephos

    It's simple the only reason Zimmerman had an altercation with Martin is because he pursued it. The dispatcher said DO NOT FOLLOW HIM and that would have happened there would be death and no case. George Zimmerman is GUILTY of killing Trayvon Martin PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Pat

    It's going to be impossible for a lot of people to honor a 17-year-old kid who was shown to be a thug, even if he was unarmed that night and just walking along minding his own business. On the other hand, Zimmerman;s acquittal will have emotions seething so fiercely in some parts of the country that it will take only one white-on-black incident to trigger full-scale riots. And, yes, he'll spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder because he's now such a hated symbol that he'll never know if or when a gun or some other weapon will do its work.

    As for President Obama asking what we can do to stem gun violence, I don't know if anything can be done. Guns have
    played a major role in the course of human history. They have forged nations and have forged the destiny of nations. They have been a part of human existence for so long that they have become archetypes in our collective unconscious; they are literally part of our national and psychological identity. To try to rip that away will cause violence in its own right because people will savagely oppose it. And creating a gun Prohibition won't work either; America tried that nearly100 years ago with alcohol and it caused more problems than it solved. So, like I said, I don't know if there will ever be a solution to gun violence. It may be one of those things where it has to be endured because there's no cure.

    July 14, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. the jury has spoken, justice has been rendered

    The system that failed was the charges by the Prosecution. 2nd degree was totally preposterous.
    Manslaughter, according the laws... was not enough to convict. The jury had no alternative than to acquit Zimmerman.
    A lesser charge than manslaughter, had a better chance of conviction. This is what happens when people get greedy.

    Self defense is a legal defense against ALL of them. Zimmerman would have been found not guilty no matter what the charge because he acted in self defense to save his life. This is why the charges were never brought to begin with. This was all a massive multi-million dollar sham trial to try and sooth the far left race baiters in this country, which is in itself, a multi-million dollar industry that keeps the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson well taken care of financially. Without their "racist behind every rock" song and dance, what would they have? Nothing.

    July 14, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Badboy

    Shut up and go away Mr Politics....take that racist AG Holderand those nostalgia racists Sharpton and Jackson with you.
    The stand your ground law worked just like it was designed to....thug down-neighborhood watch guy alive. This whole trial was just a sideshow perpetrated by the Obammy crappers! You lost, now go away and quit your crying! wah wah

    July 14, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Name

    Everyone that believes that Zimmerman acted in self defense is lying to themselves because they want to believe that the black person must be wrong. Travon's girlfriend heard him scream get off me while he was talking on the phone. One hand on the cellphone...one hand holding tea equals no hands free. Zimmerman got out his car, disobeying the police...why because he didn't know the only 3 streets in his neighborhood. Really? But he's the watch captain. ???? There were no witnesses that saw Travon throw the first punch. Zimmermann was the aggressor. What did you expect him to say.. yeah I killed him? He had every reason to lie. Justice was not served here..a child is dead. A murderer goes free because he is white. He never testified...so his further lies could not be exposed. Only peoole that take the 5th are the guilty ones. For those of you that have never been a victim of the systemic racism in the US court system..do me a favor and shut up ....you can't speak about something you know nothing about. For the rest of us...be committed to making change. Hold your elected officials accountable. Let them know that until there's justice for everyone there can be no justice for anyone. We can do this.

    July 14, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. NameTodd A

    Zimmerman for president 2016, the guy has more class then the racist amateur in the white house who fueled all this garbage, impeach Mohammed Obama now

    July 14, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Michael

    If President Obama truly respected the fact that a jury has spoken, he would have paid attention to what it said. To acquit Zimmerman of murder, jurors necessarily determined the following disputed facts: (1) Martin was either the initial physical aggressor, or, if not, Martin escalated the fight beyond Zimmerman's initial use of non-deadly force; and (2) the beating by Martin put Zimmerman in reasonable fear that a risk of death or severe bodily harm was imminent. As a matter of law, these fact provide a complete justification for the homicide committed by Zimmerman. Every US jurisdiction would hold the same, except that some states would require that Zimmerman have first tried to flee. The generally recognized legal principle here entails that there was no gun violence in this case. There was, an armed neighborhood watchman who, at worst, racially profiled a 17-year old stranger, and, due to the bias, snooped on, followed around, intrusively questioned him. No witness testified that he or she knew with certainty who initiated the physical combat. One might speculate that Zimmerman first grabbed, shoved or even tackled Martin, but that would be mere speculation. The medical evidence did clearly establish that Martin had few if any wounds. Martin had no justification for using the degree of force that he did. Absent the gun, we would have a criminal battery by Martin. "The man is following me", or "he asked me questions that I had no obligation to answer" are not recognized defenses to a charged of criminal battery. Here, the violence was not by the gunman, at least according to the jury's findings and generally accepted legal principle. As for our nation of laws, we have universally accepted the separation of powers structure, entailing judicial autonomy from the political branches (legislative and executive), as well as state-federal separation, i.e., all powers not expressly enumerated in the federal constitution are reserved to the states. A federal executive branch official–let alone the POTUS–who insinuates himself into a state's judicial matters cannot be taken seriously, when he speaks of a nation of laws.

    July 14, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. nadsgf

    Did he really say a self defense shooting is "gun violence" ?

    July 14, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. D-Nice

    No justice in the court system

    July 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    He has a lot bigger problems then that which he is not addressing. Too busy compromising.

    July 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Name Abdumahdi

    Thank you white America for showing the black people of this country that their lives and their childrens lives are worth nothing. Black people take this time to reflect and see that this is nothing new with these white people as far as killing you and your kind without you getting justice. Since the justice system doesn't work for you lets stop making the justice system work. When you see crimes being committed don't call the police or get involved just mind your business because without you the system doesn't work. Stop snitching on your own kind so that your killers of today will kill for you tomorrow because your black leaders won't kill nothing for you. All of the gangs across america should come together and exterminate the jews at there synagogues so that the world will see that you will not take this anymore.

    July 14, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Michael

    What does gun violence have to do with it. The jury determined that the violence of concern was by the guy who wasn't armed with a gun. President Obama seems oblivious to the fact that Zimmerman was completely justified in killing Martin–with a gun–because Martin was not in any manner justified in beating Zimmerman into the bloody and disheveled mess that he was, at the time he defended himself with a gun. No manslaughter, no lesser included offenses. Complete justification. If Obama actually heard what the jury said before he decided what he would say in this statement, then he doesn't know the laws of the nation that he ostensibly leads. Let this be a lesson: words, staring, following, interrogating etc. are no justification for the use of serious violence. The use of serious violence is a justification for the use of serious violence.

    July 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Eric

    Unfortunately I am not surprised by the verdict. I just don't believe that a man that was following someone walking from his car that he thought was out of place, would exit his car and approach this strange person fearfully with a loaded gun after being told to stop his persuit by the authorities could be found not guilty of murder. I'm also bewildered by the jury selection. Eleven caucasian women? That makes no sense what so ever. But such is life in the backwards US of A. What else do we expect from a country governed in such corruption with a president such as Obama. And yes I am an African American male. But let it be known that the truth will always come to light. Praie the Lord Jesus! I pray he will forgive all who were wrong in this case.

    July 14, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. bb1973

    It is very inappropriate for Obama to be making these comments. Obviously we all know what side he is on, and it's because he is black. This case should have not went as far as it has with the racism card...it's ridiculous. Zimmerman had the right to carry, when you have that right you know when and how to use a firearm. He had the right to defend himself....I am pleased with the outcome. If it were reversed. It would have been ok for Treyvon.....

    July 14, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. Renee

    asdfdsa, it's not about race!! It's about right and Wrong!! Even Stevie Wonder could have seen all the wrong in this case. If it was one of your relatives, son, daughter, mother , brother or sister that was the victim...Same way TM was victimized..would you feel the same as you do now?

    July 14, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Ed1

    Obama should have kept his mouth shut or is this the son that could have been yours now.

    The facts didn't come out at the trial the Maritin has been arrested a few times before and he wasn't a child either the 14 year old photo that kept popping up from the press just shows us that that's all they wanted us to see not the truth.

    The jury got it right this time and the press didn't.

    Should have never gone to trail in the first place.

    July 14, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. The Elephant In The Room

    Martin is guilty, of at a minimum, manslaughter. This verdict says that it is permissible to stalk, pursue, confront, shoot & kill an unarmed black teenager walking home from a brief visit to his local convenience store with candy & a soft drink. I don't wish to live in that type of country. It is WRONG. So when clean cut, pop warner playing, horseback riding two-parent-household, suburban black teenagers start carrying guns and capping anybody that walks up on them, remember the Zimmerman verdict.

    July 14, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Some simple guidelines to young people. As to racial profiling, 1)if you don't want to be identified as a trouble causing punk, don't dress like one. 2) Show respect to your elders 3) respect the property of others.
    If Trayvon, a teenager had been respectful of George Zimmerman, an adult, he'd be alive today. It's a pretty straight forward cause and effect. Regardless of race, younger people need to respect older ones. End of story. You get what you put out.

    July 14, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. Reddog

    The jury has found George Zimmerman innocent of both second degree murder and manslaughter. The system worked. Justice prevailed. Wasn't the outcome you or the media wanted? Tough.

    July 14, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. snotfair

    Thank you CNN for printing a wild variety of opinions, beliefs & insites from across America, Canada & beyond. GREAT unbiased journalism!

    July 14, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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