President Obama has urged Americans to respect the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case.
Obama said he knows the verdict, which was reached late Saturday and acquitted Zimmerman on all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has elicited strong passions around the country but he is asking that all Americans respect his call for calm reflection. So far, there have been a number of rallies and protests, but most have been peaceful.
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America,” Obama wrote in a statement released by the White House.
“But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken."
Obama says Americans should ask themselves if they're doing all they can to stem gun violence, and what can be done to prevent future tragedies like the Florida shooting
“We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin."
The statement from Obama came just as the Justice Department said it’s reviewing the case.
The Department said Sunday it is looking into the death of Martin to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
The department opened an investigation into Martin's death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.
The Justice Department said the criminal section of the civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Florida are continuing to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal probe, in addition to the evidence and testimony from the state trial.
Additionally, the NAACP has called for the opening of a civil rights case against Zimmerman in an online petition addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department.
NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous wrote in the petition, posted on the website MoveOn.org, "The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin.”
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.