WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the jury verdict that cleared the killer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin “questionable” and urged President Barack Obama to speak more on issues of race during an interview that aired Sunday.

The first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Martin verdict soon would be forgotten but said Obama — and all presidents — have a responsibility to discuss the nation’s history of racial injustice. Powell spoke as Washington marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march that included the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

“If Dr. King 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,'” said Powell, also the first African American to serve the nation as secretary of state.

Asked about the Martin killing, Powell questioned its impact on the civil rights discourse. A Florida jury found George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and acquitted him during a criminal trial.

“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 said. “These cases come along and they blaze across the midnight sky and then after a period of time, they’re forgotten.”

That doesn’t mean Obama should keep silent, though, Powell said.

“I’d like to see him be more passionate about race questions,” Powell said of Obama, whom he endorsed during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election.

“For the president to speak out on it is appropriate. I think all leaders, black and white, should speak out on this issue,” the Republican added.

Powell said he didn’t fully grasp the civil rights upheaval happening during the early 1960s until he returned from Vietnam. His wife, Alma, didn’t share the developments with him from their home in Birmingham, Ala., and his service blocked him from engaging in the political upheaval.

He said the civil rights era helped blacks but more needs to be done.

“A lot has been accomplished, and we should be so proud of our accomplishments,” he said. “But at the same time, that mirror should show us that there are still problems in this country, that there is still racial bias that still exists in certain parts of our country.”

Powell spoke with CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

(Photo: AP)

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11 thoughts on “Powell: Trayvon Martin Verdict ‘Questionable’

  1. Beverly Ward on said:

    Fifty And phune

    I agreed with you 100 percent he didn’t brother to ask Bush nothing and Obama is doing the best I feel that he can, with what he is up against. It is not easy dealing with the minds of the racist who continue to try and push us back fifty years or so.

  2. Jim hampton on said:

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called the jury verdict that cleared the killer of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin “questionable” and urged President Barack Obama to speak more on issues of race during an interview that aired Sunday 8/25/2013. These idiots just won’t let racism die.

    Lets get the facts correct Mr. Powell!

    Black Teens Killing Whites Has Become America’s Fastest Growing Sport Since Trayvon Martin’s Trial.

    The 89 year old WWII veteran who was murdered by two black thugs, his family is now getting murder threats.

    One good Hispanic man kills one black drug thug in self defense, Whites not evolved, its classified a “White Hate Crime“ on blacks. Makes Head Line “Race Baiter” News for weeks.

    Mr. Powell, Please do a little research about Trayvon Martin and his family and George Zimmerman and his family before you Judge people on National TV! Who are the sinners?

    Why is Black murder and torture on whites not racial, not worthy of Head Line News? Most of the time the crime is pushed under the rug.

    Mr. Powell, lets talk about real racism you idiot: Read below a small sample of murders not news worthy-

    In Houston Texas a middle-aged black woman named Mona Nelson kidnapped a 12-year-old white boy from his home on Christmas Eve 2010. She tied him up with string, then burned him with a blowtorch, and dumped his body in a ditch. Reverse the races and this would be the lead story every night in the media. O my God, Can’t imagine the pain this little boy endured. 

    Memphis Tenn. An incident that’s being covered up as a “robbery gone wrong” is actually a hate crime, a senseless murder, and revenge for Trayvon Martin. On the night of Aug. 12, David Santucci was walking to his car in Memphis, Tenn., when three black individuals shot him through the heart with a 9mm handgun.

    Middletown, New Jersey. Hate-Crime Black Savage stabs White woman in chest over a Dozen Times at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. A woman was brutally stabbed in the chest more than a dozen times while shopping with her infant child at a Bed, Bath & Beyond store on Thursday evening.

    Cleveland, Ohio. A white man was beaten and then crushed by a mob of 40 black people who were furious that a white man bumped into his truck on a moped.

    Massachusetts. Four black men decided to murder the next white person they saw. That unlucky soul was a college student from Boston, whom the men stabbed to death.

    In Jacksonville, it was a gang of black men who stomped a mentally-disabled man to death solely because he was white.

    Indiana. A black man was arrested for killing seven white people with a shotgun. He explained that he murdered his victims due to his “deep-rooted hatred” of white people.

    Miami, Florida. The leader of a black supremacist was convicted of the murders of several white people. He ordered his followers to kill any and all “white devils.” They killed at least seven white people, bringing back body parts to their leader.

    North Carolina. Seven black men kidnapped a white woman, raped her, put her in a tub of bleach, shot her five times, and dumped her body. The murderers said they did this for racial reasons.

    Memphis Tenn. Four blacks torture and kill white couple. The attack was so brutal that they cut off the penis of the boy and poured bleach down the throat of the girl after raping her. 

    North Carolina. Four black teenagers lured a white, ten-year-old girl into an empty house. “There, they sodomized her, strangled her with a cable wire, and beat her to death with a board.

    New York City. In a Midtown office building, a white woman was assaulted, raped, and anally raped by a black man who called her racist names during the attack.

    Alexandria, Virginia. A black man walking through a neighborhood went over to a white eight-year-old boy playing in his great-grandparents’ front yard and slit the child’s throat, killing him. A witness says that the attacker shouted racial epithets during the attack, and the main suspect in the case owns anti-white hate literature and had written a note about killing white children. He had been previously arrested for attacking an unarmed white stranger with a hammer.

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Upset about a racial name-calling that occurred earlier that night, several black men savagely beat a random white man who had had nothing to do with the incident. He slipped away from his attackers, but they forced him to swim into a lake to escape. He drowned. The three men were sentenced to less than a year in jail.

    A black man named Colin Ferguson opened fire inside a commuter train in Long Island. Six people died and nineteen were injured. “Police recovered from Ferguson’s pocket a handwritten note titled, ‘Reasons for This.’ It expressed hatred towards whites. “When the Reverend Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, mentioned Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad mass murderer, at a rally in New York City, the audience cheered. In a speech before an audience of 2,000 at Howard University, Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed drew loud applause when he stated, ‘I love Colin Ferguson, who killed all those white folks on the train.’” 

    The “Black hate crime epidemic” in America is an illusion. I don’t think so.

    White Americans continue to stay silent??????

    • Beverly Ward on said:

      Jim Hampton,

      Good now you can see how blacks been feeling for centuries. You talk about TM like you knew him personally, but by calling him a thug you white ass people use that to cover the crime up. You don’t know anything about TM accept he was a black boy so stop your fucking lies who cares about you I hope someone get your ass.

      • Sexy Leroy on said:

        tjsotomayor talks about women like you all the time. Your logic is all the way pFucked up, Bev…; What do you say about the fact that we make up 13 percent of the population, but commit over 80 percent of all violent crimes in the U.S.? You probably are one of those math deficients that believe that the president was elected because of the black vote- assuming that all 13% voted or could vote, right?

    50 years MLK Day celebration: KKK Threat saddens my heart. They’re marching I’m still dealing with racism, unfair education system and violations of injustices. 50 years later, there is less of an” innocent until proven guilty system.” There is less interest in remedy injustices and equal rights. There is almost no interest in discovering the truth. People that can provide legal help, don’t have time unless you have the money. By the time a poor person can save the money, the statue time of limitations is up. This plan works out perfect for the persons and corporations in the wrong. However, it keeps the oppressed depressed for they have waited so long for nothing.
    Their justice fighting went from days to years without seeing JUSTICE come to light. The court will not hear the long kept evidence. So, while we cry for help, they flip the calendar of no justice.

    rjohnson4ob(at)gmail (dot) com


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  5. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    Well Mr. Powell you didn’t ask Bush to be compassionate about race relations the way he handled Katrina yet you sat back like a good servant and said nothing but you expect a lot from Obama We should expect all of our Presidents to take an issue on race whether what color they are and not pressure black politicians to do and say something.

    • Sexy Leroy on said:

      What did Al Sharpton do? What did the Congressional Black Caucus do (congress controls money…) what did the NAACP do?? You seem to think that there were/are no other races/people that were/are affected by Hurricane Katrina? It was a tragedy dumbs- plain and simple that no one could have predicted, aside from all the warnings from the authorities days before for EVERYONE IN THE AFFECTED AREAS TO EVACUATE!!! Some did, most didnt and they died. The president has nothing to do with that…; he merely lends support to local government like Obama did to New Jersey!

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