Leading Dem casts doubt on possible DOJ charges against Zimmerman

A leading House Democrat questioned Friday whether the Justice Department (DOJ) has the evidence to mount a civil rights case against George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of killing an unarmed black teenager in Florida.

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Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a television interview that "it seems unlikely" Attorney General Eric Holder would file discrimination charges against Zimmerman.

The killing of Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman's subsequent acquittal have sparked demonstrations around the country. Protests were scheduled nationwide on Saturday as disappointed court-watchers urged DOJ to pursue charges against Zimmerman.

Waxman's comments put him at odds with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who have said that Zimmerman violated Martin's civil rights in February, 2012, by pursuing him through a neighborhood.

"I haven't heard that they could show that there was anything with regard to race involved," Waxman told C-SPAN's Newsmakers program.

"There was a boy and this fellow Zimmerman thought he was up to no good and they got into a fight.

"Maybe he decided [Martin] was doing something wrong because he was African American, but there was no clear evidence that was the supposition. It seems unlikely that they could make a case."

Waxman also said he understood why jurors came to their conclusion in the case.

"I can see how a jury trying to reach a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt for guilt could have a reasonable doubt and come to the conclusion they reached," he said.