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Gov. Deval Patrick said he felt a sense of sadness and disappointment when he heard of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.
The governor, a former head of the civil rights division in the U.S. Department of Justice, also told reporters on Monday that he believed the department's options going forward in the case might be limited.
A Florida jury on Saturday acquitted George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in the shooting death of Martin, a black teenager.
Patrick stressed that he was not in the courtroom and understands the danger of trying to second guess a jury.
"But of what I understand the facts, it's a chilling thought that you can be in a neighborhood out buying a soda or a pack of Skittles and have your life taken from you by somebody who just thinks you don't look like you belong there," the governor said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that the killing of Martin was tragic and unnecessary and that the Justice Department would review evidence to determine whether criminal civil rights charges could be brought.
Patrick, the nation's second elected black governor who served as an assistant U.S. attorney general in the civil rights division in the 1990s, said he based his belief that the Justice Department would have limited options on his own understanding of the law.
Patrick noted that Massachusetts does not have the same gun laws as Florida, but added:
We all suffer from the suppositions that we make about people based on what they look like and where they are and whether you think they belong where they are. It's a reminder that we are going to have to think outside of those boxes, and in this case, thinking inside that box was deadly.
This program aired on July 15, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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