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DOJ Examining Evidence For Possible Investigation Into Zimmerman Civil Rights Violations

The Justice Department announced Sunday afternoon that it was examining evidence to determine whether it would begin a federal investigation into any potential civil rights violations committed by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday evening in the shooting death of 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,” said Dena Iverson, a Justice spokesperson.

The Justice Department had initiated a probe into the case last year, when it was unclear whether the state of Florida would arrest Zimmerman, but stepped aside once he was charged.

Speculation about the DOJ’s involvement began immediately following the verdict, with the NAACP announcing it had started a petition to ask the Justice Department to involve itself.

The Department’s move was not unexpected. Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, Al Sharpton said the Martin family had always kept the potential of a civil rights investigation as a ‘Plan B.’

Meanwhile, on ABC’s This Week, Dan Abrams was skeptical that the DOJ would take up the case. “They will publicly discuss it, and there will not be charges filed,” Abrams said. “They can’t win in this case. They won’t win, and they know that.” Abrams reiterated the point after the DOJ’s announcement this afternoon:

Read the full press release below:

As the Department first acknowledged last year, we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Department of Justice’s Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. 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.

[h/t Buzzfeed]


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