Obama’s Statement On The Zimmerman Verdict

President calls for “calm reflection” after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. “We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Obama addressed the Trayvon Martin shooting on March 23, 2012.

2. “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence.”

The White House released the following Sunday:

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

A jury on Saturday accepted that Zimmerman acted out of self-defense in February 2012 when he pursued, confronted and fatally shot Martin, an unarmed high school student.

Weeks after the 17-year-old was shot, as outrage was bubbling up around the country, President Obama spoke of the case in highly personal terms. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” the president had said, during a Rose Garden news conference in which the primary business had been to announce his nominee for president of the World Bank.

“I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this,” Obama said. “All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen.”

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Lisa Tozzi is the news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Lisa Tozzi at
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