A careful President Barack Obama this morning stepped into the Trayvon Martin case in Florida:
From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama spoke in unusually personal terms Friday about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida, a case that has roiled civil rights activists and a suburban Orlando community. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said, vowing to “get to the bottom of what happened.”
Obama expressed sympathy for the parents of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., a suburb of Orlando, by a neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self-defense.
“I can only imagine what these parents are going through, and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama said, calling the case a “tragedy.”
The nation’s first black president aimed his message at Martin’s parents, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans take this with the seriousness that it deserves, and we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.”
Obama said that “every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and everybody pulls together, federal state and local, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
“What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy. There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.”
The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation, and a grand jury is considering whether to charge George Zimmerman, who acknowledged shooting the teen but said it was in self-defense. Martin’s parents, civil rights activists and others who have rallied to the cause say they won’t be satisfied until Zimmerman is arrested.
Updated at 1:55 p.m.: Rick Santorum may be the first GOP presidential candidate to weigh in on the matter. From the Washington Post:
“Well, ‘Stand Your Ground’ is not doing what this man did,” Santorum said Friday morning at a campaign event in Monroe, La. “There’s a difference between ‘Stand Your Ground’ and doing what he did. And it’s a horrible case. It’s chilling to hear what happened, and of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of horrible decisions made by people in this process.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider