By Meghashyam Mali - 07/18/13 11:33 AM EDT
The parents of slain teenager Trayvon Martin on Wednesday pressed President Obama to carefully investigate the case, days after a jury acquitted shooter George Zimmerman of manslaughter and second-degree murder charges.
“At least investigate what happened,” said Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, during an interview on CBS’s “This Morning.” “At least go through it with a fine-toothed comb and just make sure the t's were crossed and the i's were dotted.”
Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman said Martin acted suspiciously and followed the teen, who was walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense after a violent confrontation.
Zimmerman’s acquittal on Saturday sparked nationwide protests, with many saying racial bias played a role in Martin’s death.
Democratic lawmakers and civil rights groups are pressuring the Justice Department, which is reviewing the case, to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are also preparing a bill to address racial profiling.
President Obama on Sunday called the death of Martin a “tragedy” but urged “calm” and respect for the jury’s verdict. Obama has not commented on calls for federal charges, with the White House saying the decision was entirely up to the DOJ.
"Cases are brought on the merits," said press secretary Jay Carney. "The merits are evaluated by the professionals at the Department of Justice."
Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, said he wanted the public to understand that his son was a “fun-loving child.”
“He was our child. We miss him dearly. Just to have your child's life taken away from you like that, it hurts.”
A lawyer for the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, said they were still considering whether to file a civil suit.
We are looking at all legal options right now. We're asking the Department of Justice to answer that question for us,” said Crump. “Can a private citizen with a gun profile and follow our children home? Because the United States Supreme Court doesn't even allow the police to profile people based on race, so this is an issue that we need to know because we need to know what to tell our children.”