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.
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 HolderEric H. HolderLawyer claims death threats after anti-Black Lives Matter lawsuit Adviser: Obama can’t ‘erase decades’ of racism Airbnb enlists civil rights leaders in discrimination fight MORE 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 ReidHarry ReidMcConnell: Senate could drop flood money from spending bill Reid: Trump revealed one 'shocking truth' Reid: Dems 'likely' to block spending bill MORE 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 KlobucharAmy KlobucharOvernight Defense: US attempted hostage rescue in Afghanistan | Defense hawks brace for spending fight | Trump slams 'lies' about Iraq war stance Senators want military separation policy to address trauma-related behavior Senate Dems reignite fight for hearing on SCOTUS nominee MORE (D-Minn.), a former prosecutor, of Attorney General Holder’s decision.