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The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin has sparked national outrage and opened the wound of race relations in the United States. On Sunday (July 15), President Barack Obama issued a statement regarding the case, calling Martin’s death a “tragedy” and asking for “calm reflection” in lieu of violence.

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America,” read part Obama’s statement. “I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.”

A Florida jury consisting of six women on Saturday night (July 13) found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of Martin after a confrontation in February 2012. The day after the verdict, mostly peaceful demonstrations occurred in cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Continued Obama, “…We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.”

Zimmerman may not be completely off the hook. On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced that it would be investigating the case with the possibility of filing federal civil right charges against the neighborhood watch volunteer.

Read President Obama’s full statement on the next page.

Photo: Pete Souza/White House

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