Friday, March 23, 2012

President Obama remarks on Trayvon Martin Case (video)

On March 23, 2012, President Obama spoke from the Rose Garden where he announced the nomination of Jim Yong Kim for World Bank President. As he was about to conclude, a reporter asked if he would comment on the Trayvon Martin case. It was the first time the President addressed the shooting death that has caused outrage and protests nationwide with allegations that racism runs rampant in Florida streets.

After shaking hands with Jim Yong Kim, an unidentified reporter asked, "Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida-- very controversial--allegations of lingering racism within our society--the so called "Stand Your Ground" law and the justice in that? Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?"

President Obama answered, "Well, I'm the head of the executive branch and the Attorney General reports to me so I have to be careful about my statements to make sure that we're not impairing any investigation that's taking place right now. But obviously, this is a tragedy.

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together- federal, state, and local- to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

"So, I'm glad not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the Governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what's taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident. "

Shifting gears, President Obama delivered a message to Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.

"But my message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. Thank you."

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's parents, released a statement following President Obama's remarks. They said, "The president's personal comments touched us deeply and made us wonder, if his son looked like Trayvon and wore a hoodie, would he be suspicious, too?

"We would like to thank the president and the millions of people from around the world who have shown their support for Trayvon by participating in hoodie marches, rallies or through social media. We are all working together to not only get justice for Trayvon, but also to ensure that this kind of senseless tragedy doesn't happen to another child."

The remarks begin at 4:14 seconds in the video player below.

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