Former Secretary of State Colin Powell calls the George Zimmerman verdict in the case of Trayvon Martin‘s death “questionable,” and calls on President Barack Obama to speak up on issues of race.
Powell appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and spoke about the evolution of race relations in the United States. “If Dr. [Martin Luther King, Jr.] was here, I’m quite sure he would say, ‘Congratulations on all the progress that’s been made, but let’s keep going. The dream is not fully achieved yet,'” Powell says.
He was asked for his take on neighborhood watchman Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Florida teenager, Martin. Much ado has been made in the media about Zimmerman being a white Hispanic, who in 2012 shot and killed an unarmed African-American boy.
“I think that it will be seen as a questionable judgment on the part of the judicial system down there, but I don’t know if it will have staying power,” Powell says. “These cases come along and they blaze across the midnight sky and then after a period of time, they’re forgotten.”
He also calls on Obama to address national race issues in a “more passionate” manner. “For the president to speak out on it is appropriate,” says Powell. “I think all leaders, black and white, should speak out on this issue.”
Days after Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict, Obama held a press conference to address the matter of race relations. “Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago,” Obama said at the time, as he described having been followed in a shopping center, having heard doors lock as he walked across the street, or “getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.”