President Obama won't get involved in the Justice Department's review of whether George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin's civil rights in the teen's shooting death, the White House said Monday.
"This is a decision made by the Justice Department, by career prosecutors," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "And that is not something the president involves himself in."
A jury acquitted Mr. Zimmerman on Saturday night of second-degree murder in the teen's death in Florida in February 2012. Mr. Obama, who expressed sympathy for Trayvon shortly after the incident, issued a statement on Sunday appealing for calm and calling the victim's death "a tragedy."
Mr. Carney said the president decided to comment on the verdict because it was "fairly big news, and it was something that was being watched nationally."
"The president wanted to convey that he felt that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy for his family, for a community but also for the country," Mr. Carney said. "And he wanted to note that in the wake of the verdict, the strong passions the case had elicited could be running even higher and that it was important to remember that we are a nation of laws and the jury had spoken."
He said Mr. Obama also wanted to express his view that "we should ask ourselves if we are doing all that we can to foster compassion and understanding in our communities and to stem the tide of gun violence, as well as how we can prevent future tragedies like this from happening."
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