Obama gets personal about Trayvon Martin

2012-03-23 19:48

Washington - President Barack Obama weighed into the controversial killing in Florida of black teenager Trayvon Martin for the first time on Friday, pledging to "get to the bottom" of the shooting and telling the parents "if I had a son he'd look like Trayvon".

The 17-year-old was shot dead by a neighbourhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, 28, on February 26. Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, has said he shot the unarmed teen in self-defence.

The case has made headlines and prompted rallies protesting the police's handling of the shooting and what black leaders call a pattern of racial discrimination in the Florida town of Sanford and elsewhere in a country that now has a black president.

Obama called the shooting a "tragedy" that should touch every parent in America and said it made him think of his two young daughters, Malia and Sasha.

"My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.

"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."

He was responding to a reporter's question at a White House event to announce his nomination for the presidency of the World Bank.

Obama said he did not want to comment on the specifics of the Martin case, but "I can only imagine what these parents are going through".

"I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to investigate how something like this happened. And that means we examine the laws, the context, what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident."

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-23 19:54

    More American democracy,

      bluzulu - 2012-03-26 12:10

      US Federal Democracy = Fedmocracy......Federal Government limited Democracy

  • Deon - 2012-03-23 20:42

    Whether it is here or over there it is too easy to play the race card

  • wesleywt - 2012-03-23 20:54

    @Deon. The guy called 911 following a suspicious black guy. Then later shot him. The black guy was a 17 year old boy who was going home after buying something at the shop. The murderer has a history of violence and often called 911 about black people. The murderer has not been arrested by a police department with a history of racism. Its that enough of the race card for you Deon?

      zaatheist - 2012-03-24 04:16

      If you want to see open naked racial hatred then America is the place to be.

      Fred - 2012-03-24 05:07

      Central to the criminal justice system is the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Clearly you have crossed that line. Therefore your account is flawed.

      Marina - 2012-03-27 08:18

      @wesleywt. Where did you get the "low-down" on Zimmerman? I don't see any of that in the article.

  • henrileriche - 2012-03-24 03:20

    Deon is correct. The race card is played, yet not many people in SA know that the race issue is at a saturation point in the US. Especially black on white racist crime. Like in SA this is not reported, downgraded, and said to not "exist". People are not that stupid and people are getting fed up with the double standards worldwide. Here is a bigger story, yet sidelined by US media. On top of this the media in the US tries to make out the perpetrator to be "white" with their wording, when in fact the guy is HISPANIC. NOT Caucasian. (White)

      Kwasi - 2012-03-25 10:44

      Most Hispanic people are actually racially white. Hispanic is not an ethnic group its a cultural grouping.

  • Anneli Potgieter - 2012-03-24 10:23

    Would Obama have said these words if the decease was a white/ yellow/ briwn boy? The headlines will always be white killed black. Why dont we stand up and say youngster unarmed killed by trigger happy community patroler? No we wont because there will be no headline! Rather play the white on black to sell newspapers ...

      wesleywt - 2012-03-24 23:44

      A deeply disturbed person would write this. A middle class boy was murdered in cold blood buying skittles.

      bluzulu - 2012-03-25 12:08

      The facts are the facts, Why change to suit a publication. Here is a young man whom lost his life cos' he was black. If he were American European He would be alive today cos' Mr. Zimmerman ( note this individual's last name) thought he was doing the right thing by following and eventually shooting an unarmed youngster. PATHETIC

      bluzulu - 2012-03-25 12:08

      Zimmerman = right wing radical

      John - 2012-04-02 11:55

      Anneli, Obama is only getting involved because he's campaigning...for the black vote of course. @bluzulu, don't leave the sheep unattended for too long, you know how fickle they can be, besides your buddy Azanian ain't there yet to help you.

  • nspaynter - 2012-03-25 09:21

    I think as long as we think in racial terms we will continue to have racial tensions. We should be thinking more along the lines of nationality such as American or South African. Look for things that unite rather than divide.

  • Mzansi - 2012-03-25 10:44

    USA Racism is there to stay

  • Marina - 2012-03-27 08:16

    I love it when Americans make "words" not "sentences"

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