Justice Department reviewing Zimmerman case after acquittal

The Justice Department said Sunday that it was evaluating whether to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted this weekend in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Dena Iverson, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement that the department, the FBI and a U.S. attorney’s office in Florida were all examining evidence from both their own investigations and the recently concluded state trial.

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“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.

In the statement, Iverson also noted that the department first acknowledged they were looking into the Zimmerman-Martin case last year.

Both top Democrats and civil rights activists have been pressing for the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder to act since the Saturday night verdict.

“I think the Justice Department is going to take a look at this. This isn’t over with and I think that’s good,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, said his civil rights group had already spoken to top DOJ officials about charges against Zimmerman. 

Republicans and conservative pundits have charged that President Obama and Democrats politicized Martin’s killing.


“The evidence didn’t support prosecution, and 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,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Fox News.

Karl Rove on Sunday urged the Justice Department against seeking any more charges.

“I hope the Justice Department does not respond to the ill-advised recommendation of the NAACP to continue to this controversy,” said Rove on Fox.

But even Democrats acknowledged that the DOJ needed to vault a high bar to bringing federal charges against Zimmerman.

“It’ll be a tough one,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a former prosecutor, of Attorney General Holder’s decision.