POSTED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 1:08pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 2:27pm
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — President Barack Obama said Friday that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago" in his first live comments since a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman last weekend in the teenager's shooting death. He also said protests against the verdict should remain nonviolent.
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.
A jury acquitted Zimmerman Saturday in Martin's February 26, 2012, shooting death, inciting anger among many who considered the incident racially motivated murder.
President Obama said that at despite how "difficult and challenging" the Trayvon Martin shooting has been, "I don't want us to lose sight of the fact that things are getting better" regarding race issues.