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Patrick calls Zimmerman trial verdict ‘sad’

“I don’t know what you say to a young black boy or mothers of young black boys if the message of this is that you can be pursued down the street by someone with a gun and when you try to defend yourself that person is justified in shooting you dead,” said Gov. Deval Patrick Monday.

Steven Senne/AP

“I don’t know what you say to a young black boy or mothers of young black boys if the message of this is that you can be pursued down the street by someone with a gun and when you try to defend yourself that person is justified in shooting you dead,” said Gov. Deval Patrick Monday.

Governor Deval Patrick said Monday that he felt “disappointment” with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was found not guilty by a Florida jury Saturday in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager.

“It’s just sad,” Patrick told reporters outside his office in the State House. “You know, I don’t know what you say to a young black boy or mothers of young black boys if the message of this is that you can be pursued down the street by someone with a gun and when you try to defend yourself that person is justified in shooting you dead.”

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Patrick said, “From what I understand of the facts, it’s a chilling thought that you could be in a neighborhood out buying a soda and a pack of Skittles and have your life taken from you by somebody who just thinks you don’t look like you belong.”

The US Department of Justice said it was looking at the case and that federal prosecutors would determine whether prosecution in the case under civil rights law is “appropriate.”

Patrick, who served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Department of Justice, said he thought “the DOJ’s options are very limited in a case like this.”

The governor declined to say that the jury came to the wrong verdict, explaning he was neither in the courtroom nor on the jury.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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