WASHINGTON – The Anti-Defamation League issued a measured statement in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen Zimmerman killed last year in Florida.

The case attracted national attention in the United States, as has the verdict, which spurred riots across the country as well as charges that racial bias has become ingrained in America’s judicial system. Zimmerman, who shot Martin during a confrontation while on volunteer community watch, claimed self-defense based on a unique Florida law that allowed him to “stand his ground” when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.

“We have great faith in America’s jury system and do not question the verdict in the Zimmerman case,” ADL’s national director and chairman Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham Foxman said in the statement.

“However, this case raises serious questions about the wisdom of standyour- ground laws and the easy access to concealed weapons permits in states like Florida, where more than one million permits have been issued since 1987 when the state’s concealed weapons law went into effect,” they said.

ADL acknowledged the racially charged nature of the case, though the first juror to speak publicly on the deliberations claims the subject was never breached when considering Zimmerman’s verdict. Zimmerman has been accused of racially profiling Martin while on neighborhood watch.

Martin was walking down an alley wearing a hoodie after buying Skittles candy and a soft drink, and Zimmerman considered him suspicious.

As an ally of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, ADL can expect pressure to support a NAACP push for a federal civil rights probe into Zimmerman’s actions.

“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,” US President Barack Obama said, calling for calm as protests mounted when Saturday’s verdict came down.

“We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.”

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