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Dear Leader Chimes In On Death Of Black Teen...Right along With his braintrust Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson
Obama: 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon'

By the CNN Wire Staff

updated 11:16 AM EDT, Fri March 23, 2012

Obama says soul-searching needed in Trayvon Martin death


  • NEW: President Obama calls for thorough investigation of Trayvon Martin shooting
  • NEW: Nation must do some soul-searching over shooting, Obama says
  • The black teenager was not armed when he was killed last month
  • More than 1.3 million people have signed petition seeking justice in the case
  • [/list]

    For more on the investigation into the
    Florida teen's shooting death, watch "Trayvon Martin Killing" at 7 ET
    Saturday night on CNN.
    Sanford, Florida (CNN) -- President Barack Obama
    waded into the growing national controversy of the killing of an unarmed
    black teenager in Florida, saying the nation should do some
    "soul-searching to figure out how something like this happens."
    "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."
    Obama said Trayvon Martin's death particularly resonated with him as an African-American parent.

    "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Obama said in brief remarks outside the White House.

    As Obama was speaking,
    demonstrators were preparing to march to the state capitol in
    Tallahassee, Florida on Friday to protest the death of the17-year-old,
    who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer while walking
    home from a convenience store.

    Did police fully investigate shooter?

    Florida lawmaker on Martin case: It's racial

    Who is George Zimmerman?

    Friend: Zimmerman not racist

    The death has sparked outrage nationwide.

    Opinion: What every black mother fears

    More than 1.3 million
    people have signed an online petition urging authorities to file
    criminal charges against George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch leader
    who has told police he shot Martin in self defense.
    On Monday, people angered
    over the shooting in Sanford, Florida, a city of 50,000 just north of
    Orlando where the shooting took place, plan to march to the site of a
    city commissioners' meeting, said Valerie Houston, pastor of Allen
    Baptist Church.
    Also on Monday, students
    and civil-rights leaders in Atlanta, Georgia plan to march to the state
    Capitol to protest a Georgia state law similar to Florida's "stand your
    ground" statute, which doesn't require people to retreat from potential
    danger in public places and instead allows them to meet "force with
    force" if they believe there is danger of serious harm to themselves or
    someone else.
    Shooting renews debate over 'stand your ground' laws

    The Georgia march
    organizers are asking participants to wear hoodies and bring Skittles
    because Martin was wearing a hoodie and had just bought a bag of the
    candy when he was killed.
    Similar rallies are planned in the coming days in Greenville, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, among other places.

    Police chief steps aside 'temporarily'

    Sanford Police Chief
    Bill Lee announced Thursday he is stepping down "temporarily" as head of
    the department, which has been criticized for its handling of the fatal
    "I am aware that my role
    as a leader of this agency has become a distraction from the
    investigation," he told reporters. "It is apparent that my involvement
    in this matter is overshadowing the process. Therefore, I have come to
    the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position."
    He added, "I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to the city, which has been in turmoil for several weeks."

    LZ Granderson: Why black people don't trust police

    The gesture did not
    mollify Martin's parents. "I feel that we need an arrest," his mother,
    Sybrina Fulton, told supporters at a rally in Sanford, referring to
    George Zimmerman, the watch leader who has told police he shot Martin in
    "The temporary step-down
    of Bill Lee is nothing," Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father, told the
    rally. "We want an arrest, we want a conviction, and we want a sentence
    for the murder of our son."
    The Rev. Al Sharpton was
    more strident: "We did not come here for a temporary leave of absence,"
    he said. "We came for permanent justice -- arrest Zimmerman now!"

    Did Martin shooter use slur?

    Neighbor: Shooting wasn't in self-defense

    Martin's cell records

    Friend defends Zimmerman

    The president of the
    NAACP, Benjamin Jealous, said Lee failed to do his job. "The reality is
    that this chief had probable cause to lock up a man who shot a boy in
    cold blood -- because he shot a boy in cold blood -- and he failed to do
    that," Jealous said.
    Lee's decision came a day after the city commission voted 3-2 in favor of a nonbinding measure of no confidence.

    City Manager Norton
    Bonaparte said Thursday that he would like an independent review of
    police action in the wake of the shooting.
    Also Thursday, Gov. Rick
    Scott announced that he was appointing Angela B. Corey of the 4th
    Judicial Circuit as state attorney in the investigation, replacing
    Norman Wolfinger, state attorney for Florida's 18th District, which
    includes Sanford.
    Wolfinger requested
    someone else be assigned, saying in a letter to Scott: "This request is
    being made in light of the public good with the intent of toning down
    the rhetoric and preserving the integrity of this investigation."
    Corey told CNN affiliate
    WJXT: "I accepted his request immediately ... We will begin tomorrow to
    look into the facts and circumstances into the shooting death of
    Trayvan Martin."
    Did shooter use a racial slur?

    Lee's decision came as
    Justice Department officials met Thursday with the parents of Martin,
    who was unarmed when he was shot and killed in an Orlando suburb.
    "During the course of
    this meeting, we listened carefully to the concerns of the family and
    their representatives," the Justice Department said in a statement.
    "Earlier this week, the Department of Justice announced the opening of a
    parallel investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. That matter
    remains open at this time."
    Assistant Attorney
    General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez told reporters in a
    conference call that the investigation is being carried out in
    coordination with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of
    "We're in the
    fact-gathering stage and we're working collaboratively with the state's
    attorney's office and the local authorities to figure out what
    happened," he said. "We don't know what the facts are yet. We're
    gathering the facts and as we gather the facts we will then determine
    whether or not the facts support a prosecution under the civil rights
    laws that we enforce."
    The meeting was attended
    by the special agent in charge for the FBI Tampa Division, Steven E.
    Ibison; U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill; and Deputy Assistant Attorney
    General for the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division, Roy
    Austin, Jr.
    The case has riveted the nation. Martin's family asserts that race was a factor in the black teenager's death.

    Case sparks dialogue on racial inequality

    Zimmerman has not been
    arrested. A police report describes him as white; his family says he is
    Hispanic and that he has wrongly been described as a racist.
    The uproar over Martin's death has reverberated nationwide with demands for Zimmerman's arrest and scrutiny of police actions.

    More than 1.3 million
    people have signed a petition on urging prosecution for
    Zimmerman. Thursday morning, the petition was getting 1,000 signatures
    per minute, said Noland Chambliss, communications manager for
    CNN has made numerous attempts to contact Zimmerman but has been unsuccessful.

    Neighbors call watch leader caring, polite

    A Seminole County grand jury will convene April 10 on the matter, State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said.

    Sharpton was planned to
    lead a rally Thursday night at a church in Sanford, a racially mixed
    city of about 50,000 people just north of Orlando.
    Opinion: Where's white church outrage over Trayvon Martin?

    On Thursday night,
    Sharpton called for action by authorities. "We want to see Zimmerman in
    court with handcuffs behind his back charged with the death of this
    young man Trayvan Martin," he told thousands of demonstrators who had
    gathered in Sanford's Fort Mellon Park.
    "We are here tonight to
    fight for all our children," said NAACP's Jealous. "This isn't an issue
    about black and white, this is an issue about right and wrong."
    Zimmerman, who was
    patrolling the neighborhood, saw Martin walking in his gated community.
    He called 911 and reported what he described as a suspicious person.
    Moments later, several neighbors called the emergency number to report a
    commotion outside.
    The 911 tapes of neighbors' calls to emergency dispatchers picked up cries for help followed by the sound of a gunshot.

    "The time that we heard
    the whining and then the gunshot, we did not hear any wrestling, no
    punching, no fighting, nothing to make it sound like there was a fight,"
    said Mary Cutcher, one of the callers.
    Another caller, Selma
    Mora Lamilla, said she did not hear any altercation, but the teen cried
    and "whimpered" before the shooting.
    Martin's girlfriend was
    on the phone with him during the incident and can help prove he was
    killed "in cold blood," said Benjamin Crump, the Martin family's
    The girl connects the dots and "completely blows Zimmerman's absurd self-defense claim out of the water," Crump said.

    Shortly before he was
    shot, the teen told his girlfriend that someone was following him and he
    was trying to get away, according to the lawyer. The girl, who did not
    want to be identified, said that during the call, she heard Martin ask
    why the person was following him.
    She got the impression
    there was an altercation in which his cell phone earpiece fell out after
    he was pushed, and the connection went dead, Crump said. She did not
    hear gunfire, he said.
    Zimmerman attended a
    four-month law-enforcement program in 2008 at the sheriff's office, said
    Kim Cannaday, spokeswoman for the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
    In his application for
    the course, Zimmerman wrote: "I hold law enforcement officers in the
    highest regard and I hope to one day become one."
    Zimmerman's father, Robert, told a Florida newspaper that the 28-year-old had moved from the area after receiving death threats.

    He was a student at
    Seminole State College, but the college said Thursday that it had "taken
    the unusual but necessary step this week to withdraw" Zimmerman from
    enrollment. It cited the high-profile nature of the controversy and said
    the decision was based on concern for the safety of Zimmerman and the
    students on campus.
    Zimmerman's family has denied that race played a role, saying he has many minority relatives and friends.

    "The portrayal of George
    Zimmerman in the media, as well as the series of events that led to the
    tragic shooting, are false and extremely misleading," his father wrote
    in a letter published in the Orlando Sentinel. "Unfortunately, some
    individuals and organizations have used this tragedy to further their
    own causes and agendas."
    "George is a
    Spanish-speaking minority with many black family members and friends,"
    Robert Zimmerman wrote. "He would be the last to discriminate for any
    reason whatsoever."
    Heated debate has erupted over whether Zimmerman used a racial slur during the 911 call, a recording of which was released this week.

    "We didn't hear it. However, I am not sure what was said," Sgt. David Morgenstern of the Sanford Police Department said.

    "I have listened to the tapes, and I have not heard them use a racial slur," concurred City Manager Bonaparte.

    A top CNN audio engineer
    enhanced the sound of the 911 call, and several members of CNN's
    editorial staff repeatedly reviewed the tape but could reach no
    consensus on whether Zimmerman used a racial slur.
    Whether Zimmerman used such language before shooting Martin is key, according to CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

    "It's extremely,
    extremely significant because the federal government is not allowed to
    prosecute just your ordinary, everyday murder," he said. "Two people
    fighting on the street is not a federal crime. However, if one person
    shoots another based on racial hostility, racial animus, that does
    become a federal crime."
    Toobin said that if
    "very shortly before" the shooting, "Zimmerman used this racial epithet
    to refer to the person he openly shot, that very much puts it within the
    FBI's and the Justice Department's ambit of a case that they could
    Police say they have not charged Zimmerman because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he shot in self-defense.

    Florida's deadly force
    law, also called "stand your ground," allows people to meet "force with
    force" if they believe there is danger of serious harm to themselves or
    someone else.
    The shooting has renewed
    a debate over a controversial state law and sparked calls for a review.
    Florida's governor announced Thursday he will do just that.
    "After listening to many
    concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on
    Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy
    such as this does not occur in the future, while at the same time,
    protecting the fundamental rights of all of our citizens -- especially
    the right to feel protected and safe in our state," Scott said in a
    The task force will be
    led by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. The Rev. R. B. Holmes, Jr., pastor of
    the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, will serve as

    Added: Mar-23-2012 Occurred On: Mar-23-2012
    By: VikingRapeSquad
    Regional News
    Tags: obama, treyvon, zimmerman, shooting, race, relation, racist, race card, black, crime, murder
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