NAACP calls for federal action against George Zimmerman
The organization is pushing the Department of Justice to file a civil rights suit against Zimmerman
SANFORD, Fla. – George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder Saturday in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. However, his legal troubles may not be over just yet.
The Department of Justice says it will look into possible violations of Martin's civil rights.
Just 30 miles away from the Sanford courthouse, the NAACP is hosting its annual convention. The organization is pushing for the Department of Justice to file a civil rights suit against Zimmerman. They believe Martin was racially profiled by Zimmerman, which they say led to his death. Zimmerman has denied this.
"A not guilty verdict does not mean a crime did not occur," said H.T. Smith, an attorney and Florida International Professor professor.
Smith believes a civil rights case is a real possibility.
"I believe with the comments that were made by Zimmerman, that were actually recorded… that this was racially motivated and I think the Justice Department should look in and see whether there were civil rights violations. America needs to know this case was fully vetted," said Smith.
The threshold could be tough to meet for a review by the Justice Department, according to David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor and one time Chief of the Criminal Civil Rights Section for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami. He said investigators would first have to prove Martin's death was a hate crime. They would also have to prove that the shooting was motivated solely on race, which would be difficult since that issue was absent from the state trial.
The DOJ won't decide if they investigate for several months.
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