No one should have been surprised when President Obama dedicated a rare appearance before the White House press corps to a lengthy personal statement (no questions, of course) about the Trayvon Martin shooting. More accurately, Obama’s statement was about race, and George Zimmerman’s defense team issued a lengthy statement of its own in response to the president, reminding him that the case was about self-defense, not racial profiling. It reads, in part:
For more than a year, we have been listening to the conversation about this case — from voices on every side — and we have become very sensitive to the racial context that surrounds this case. We acknowledge Mr. Obama’s remarks regarding the frustration felt by some when viewed in context of our nation’s history, which includes racial insensitivities spanning generations, and existing even today, including within our criminal justice system.
While we acknowledge and understand the racial context of this case, we challenge people to look closely and dispassionately at the facts. We believe those who look at the facts of the case without prejudice will see that it is a clear case of self-defense, and we are certain that those who take a closer look at the kind of person George Zimmerman is — something we understand the Department of Justice is currently doing — we are confident they will find a young man with with a diverse ethnic and racial background who is not a racist, a man who is, in fact, sensitive to the complex racial history of our country.
The FBI’s own investigation came to the same conclusion. In the meantime, the Department of Justice’s dedicated email address to collect tips in a possible civil rights case against Zimmerman is up and running, and stars like Beyoncé soliciting signatures from their followers to demand such a case.
“While we acknowledge the racial context of the case, we hope that the President was not suggesting that this case fits a pattern of racial disparity, because we strongly contend that it does not,” the defense team suggested.
Justice for George Zimmerman?