SANFORD, Fla. – The Justice Department is set to announce that it will not be filing charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
According to an ABC News report, federal prosecutors determined there is not sufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman intentionally violated Martin's civil rights, as was speculated by legal experts.
According to David Weinstein, a formal federal prosecutor and one time Chief of the Criminal Civil Rights Section for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, 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.
Martin's family released a statement Tuesday afternoon stating, "We would like to thank the Department of Justice for their extensive and thorough investigation into the killing of our son.
We would also like to thank the millions of people around the world who have supported us through prayer and vigilance.
Although we are disappointed in these findings, it has steeled our resolve to continue traveling the country with the message of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting our youth and empowering those who demand justice and peace.
We remain poised to do everything in our power to help eradicate senseless violence in our communities, because we don't want any other parent to experience the unexplainable loss we have endured.
We will never, ever forget what happened to our son, Trayvon, and will honor his memory by working tirelessly to make the world a better place."
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges following the fatal shooting in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.
The high-profile case sparked a heated nationwide discussion of race as well as debate over Florida's "stand your ground" law.
Amid the close of the investigation into Martin's death, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement saying in part, "this young man's premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future."
Thursday marks three years since Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman.
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