UK
15/07/2013 12:37 BST | Updated 15/07/2013 13:00 BST

Melissa Harris-Perry, US TV Host, Says America's 'Not Safe' For Black Boys After Trayvon Martin Verdict

A leading US TV host says she was "relieved" when she gave birth to a daughter not a son - because America is "not safe" for black boys.

Melissa Harris-Perry was responding to the acquittal of security guard George Zimmerman, who shot dead unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The MSNBC host devoted her show to the verdict, saying: "I will never forget... the relief I felt at my 20 week ultrasound when they told me it was a girl.

"And last night, I thought, I live in a country that makes me wish my sons away, wish that they don't exist, because it's not safe."

Harris-Perry has previously spoken out about the Martin case, reacting to the verdict by saying: "In this moment, black families are holding their sons and daughters closer to them..a verdict which... feels very much as though it is saying it is acceptable, it is ok, to kill an unarmed African-American child who has committed no crime."

There have been protests across America following the jury's unanimous verdict on Saturday, while President Barack Obama appealed for calm.

Click here to watch Harris-Perry discussing the Zimmerman verdict