President Obama reacts to Zimmerman verdict

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Friday, July 19, 2013 - 4:05pm

In an unexpected appearance in the White House briefing room Friday afternoon, President Obama offered his first public comments on the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and some personal reflection.

When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is that Trayvon Martin could have been me.

Late last Saturday evening, a 6 member Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, 17, on February 26, 2012.

Zimmerman's attorney said the shooting of the unarmed teen was self defense, others saw the crime as racially motivated.

There's a lot of pain around what happened here. I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history.

On Sunday, in the wake of the verdict, the President had released a written statement urging calm. In Friday's remarks, he reiterated that any protests should remain nonviolent.

As difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better.

Dozens of demonstrations are planned throughout the nation this weekend.

The Justice Department is currently weighing whether to pursue a federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman.

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