Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick took a solemn tone as he spoke with reporters at the State House on Monday about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
"It's just sad," he said. "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 if you try to defend yourself that person is justified in shooting you dead."
A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman on Saturday of charges relating to the 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Patrick, who was once in charge of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, said the DOJ's line of recourse is limited. He called the verdict disappointing.
"I know the hazards of trying to second guess a jury, but 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 there," he said.
Patrick said he thought it was a good thing that Massachusetts doesn't have laws like Florida's "stand your ground" law.
"We all suffer from the suppositions we make about people based on what they look like, and where they are, and whether you think they belong where they are is a reminder that we're all going to have to continue to think outside of those boxes, and in this case thinking in that box was deadly."