Statement by the president

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But 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. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

Trial recap

June 24: The trial began with opening statements by the prosecution and the defense. The prosecution repeated obscenities George Zimmerman used in a conversation with a police dispatcher the night Trayvon Martin was killed. The defense opened with a knock-knock joke about the difficult jury selection.

June 27: Rachel Jeantel continued her testimony about the phone conversation she had with Martin on the night he died. Jeantel said she believes the encounter between Martin and Zimmerman was racially charged.

June 28: A police officer and two neighbors of Zimmerman took the witness stand, giving accounts that supported the prosecution’s contention that Zimmerman was being straddled by Martin during the confrontation. The reports conflicted with earlier testimony from other neighbors who portrayed Zimmerman as the aggressor.

July 5: Prosecutors rested their case at the end of the trial’s second week.

Tuesday: A gunshot wound expert hired by the defense testified that Zimmerman’s account that Martin was on top of him when he shot and killed the unarmed teenager is consistent with forensic evidence.

Wednesday: The defense rested its case Wednesday afternoon, and Zimmerman said he would not testify his own trial.

Thursday: Prosecutors finished their closing arguments, asserting that Zimmerman was a “wannabe cop” who profiled an unarmed Martin based on “incorrect assumptions.”

Friday: At 2:30 p.m., jurors began deliberating whether Zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder. They could also consider the lesser offense of manslaughter.

Saturday: At 9:47 p.m., court officials announced there was a verdict. Shortly after, the jury acquitted Zimmerman of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.