US President Barack Obama said that black Americans feel pain after the Trayvon Martin verdict because of a "history that doesn't go away".
He spoke in a surprise appearance at the White House on Friday, his first statement on the verdict.
He spoke about the kind of racial profiling that African Americans continue to suffer in the country – saying he could have been Trayvon Martin 35 years ago.
He spoke of his own experience earlier in life of being followed by department-store security when shopping, and of hearing drivers click door locks as they drove by him, and said he had seen women clutch their purses tighter when he walked by before he was elected to public office.
"When you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's important to recognise that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away," the President said.