Monday 22 January 2018

I could have been Trayvon, says Obama

Associated Press

US President Barack Obama says black Americans feel pain after the Trayvon Martin verdict because of a "history that doesn't go away".

Mr Obama has spoken in a surprise appearance at the White House, his first time appearing for a statement on the verdict since it was issued.

Mr Obama spoke emotionally 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.

"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 US President said.

George Zimmerman was acquitted last weekend of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges over Trayvon's death last year. The verdict has sparked civil rights protests across the US.

Jurors found Mr Zimmerman was acting in self-defence when he shot the unarmed teen in Sanford, Florida.

Irish Independent

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