The president of the NAACP said Sunday that the group had spoken to top Justice Department officials about pursuing civil rights charges against George Zimmerman following his acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
“There will be a federal civil rights phase,” Ben Jealous said of Zimmerman’s prosecution during remarks on CNN’s "State of the Union."
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed Martin, an unarmed black teenager, in Sanford, Fla. in February of last year. His legal team claimed self-defense, while the state contended that he racially profiled Martin and provoked a confrontation.
Jealous said the case smacks of racial implications, and underscores troubling realities in communities around the country.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder now faces a major decision about whethetr to press federal charges in the case.
"There is reason to be concerned that race was a factor in why he targeted young Trayvon,” Jealous said. “It feels so off that our young people have to fear the bad guys, and the good guys, the robbers and the cops and the self appointed community watch volunteer.”
Jealous said he was heartened that none of the protests organized around the country had turned violent.