The Department of Justice has confirmed that it is reviewing the State of Florida’s case against George Zimmerman, 29, as well as information gathered from their independent investigation to determine if he will face federal civil rights charges for the February 26, 2012 killing of unarmed, Black teen, Trayvon Martin.
“Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial,” Iverson said Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson.
NAACP President Ben Jealous released a statement saying the orgnization was “not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin”:
“The most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life—was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation,” said the NAACP in a petition released Saturday night. “Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.”
On CNN Sunday, Rev. Jesse Jackson called the verdict “Old South justice” and demanded that the DOJ “take this to another level.”
PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton released a statement immediately following the verdict, reiterating his dedication to push the DOJ to seek justice:
“The acquittal of George Zimmerman is a slap in the face to the American people but it is only the first round in the pursuit of justice. We intend to ask the Department of Justice to move forward as they did in the Rodney King case and we will closely monitor the civil case against Mr. Zimmerman. I will convene an emergency call with preachers tonight to discuss next steps and I intend to head to Florida in the next few days.”
Sunday, Sharpton made good on that promise, and was joined by NAACP President Ben Jealous, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Melanie Campbell and the National Urban League’s Marc Morial in pushing Holder to resume the DOJ’s investigation that was placed on hold until the conclusion of the state’s trial.
In just 12 hours, the petition calling on the Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman garnered 250,000 signatures on the NAACP site, and the petition by MoveOn.org drew 140,000, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Since the release of the petition, both sites have crashed due to high volumes of traffic.
Conservative Republicans have chastised President Obama and the DOJ for their involvement in the case:
“The evidence didn’t support prosecution,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Fox News. “The Justice Department engaged in this, the president engaged in this and turned it into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with law-and-order.”