President Obama believes the nation needs to address issues of race and gun violence because the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is the kind of tragedy that “happens all too often,” a White House spokesman said Thursday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Mr. Obama is “keenly aware” of the racial profiling and gun-control issues raised by the black teen’s death at the hands of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder by a Florida jury on Saturday.
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“This goes to the broader issues that we have as a community in this country that we need to address about how we can … come together and take action together to ensure that this kind of tragic death doesn’t happen again, because it happens all too often,” Mr. Carney said. “And it speaks to the problem of gun violence in this country, and it speaks to … how we understand each other.”
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said on “CBS This Morning” that she wants Mr. Obama to “at least investigate what happened.”
“At least go through it with a fine-toothed comb and just make sure all the T’s were crossed and all the I’s were dotted, because this is sending a terrible message,” she said.
Pressed by the media about why Mr. Obama hasn’t spoken on TV about the not-guilty verdict in the shooting, Mr. Carney said the president “will address this when asked.”
“The president has talked about the issues of race, obviously, in the past, and has acted on a number of issues that have to do with improving the racial dynamic in our country and — whether that goes to, you know, his position on voting rights or affirmative action or on his economic agenda,” Mr. Carney said.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Obama appealed for “calm reflection” as protests surfaced in several cities in response to the verdict.
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The Justice Department is conducting a review into whether a case can be brought that Mr. Zimmerman violated the teenager’s civil rights. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told an NAACP convention this week that the shooting death was “unnecessary” and criticized Florida’s “stand your ground” law, under which Mr. Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense.