President Obama weighed in on the George Zimmerman verdict on Sunday, calling on Americans to “respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”
Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday on second degree murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The White House released the following statement:
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.
Obama waded into the case last year, causing an uproar among conservatives when he told reporters at the end of a press conference: “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and others on the right called those comments disgraceful. The case became a matter of political polarization that lasted right through Saturday’s verdict.