President Barack Obama spoke out publicly Friday for the first time on the growing controversy over the shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager in Florida, saying that the incident requires national “soul-searching.”
“When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” Obama told reporters in response to a question. “And 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.”
Trayvon Martin, 17, died February 26. Police say he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, who said he was acting in self-defense. Martin was unarmed, carrying a bag of Skittles candy and an iced tea, according to police.
Although a grand jury is scheduled to convene April 10 to look into the case, authorities have declined to arrest the volunteer, George Zimmerman, sparking a national debate over Florida’s “stand your ground” deadly force law amid concerns about racial profiling.