President Obama: 'Trayvon Martin could have been me'

President Obama: 'Trayvon Martin could have been me'

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In his first live comments since the George Zimmerman verdict, President Barack Obama said "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago".

His response came in the White House briefing room in response to the verdict of not guilty against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Martin in January 2012.

He also added that in the African-American community, the perception exists that "if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."

The President said that Americans are aware of the "history of racial disparity in our criminal laws" and said the government should review some state and local legislation, such as Florida's "stand your ground" law, saying they may promote rather than discourage violent confrontations.

Speaking without a teleprompter, Obama noted a history of racial disparity in law as well as more nuanced social prejudice that contribute to "a lot of pain" in the African-American community over the verdict.

"There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store. That includes me," the president said.

"There are probably very few African-American men who have not had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me - at least before I was a senator," he continued.

"There are very few African-Americans who have not had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had the chance to get off. That happens often," he said.

Saying he didn't intend to exaggerate those experiences, Obama added that they "inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida."

For more on the President's comments, visit CNN.

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