On Saturday (July 13), George Zimmerman was found not guilty of charges stemming from the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. In response, the NAACP launched a petition urging the U.S. Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against the one-time accused killer, which they are now looking into.
Sunday (July 14) the DOA announced a review of the fatal shooting of Martin, an unarmed teen presumed to have been racially profiled by the neighborhood watch leader. “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,” the Department said in a statement.
After more than a year of media fury, protests, and a large division if theories, a jury of six woman found Zimmerman not guilty. The verdict disappointed the Martin family, and supporters rallying behind the slain high school student. “We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said following the verdict. “We will pursue civil rights with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws law in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all of its forms is outlawed.”
In a letter addressed to Holder, the NAACP called for further action:
A jury has acquitted George Zimmerman, but we are not done demanding justice for Trayvon. Sign our petition to the Department of Justice today.
Attorney General Eric Holder,
The Department of Justice has closely monitored the State of Florida’s prosecution of the case against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder since it began. Today, with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act.
The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.
Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.
Zimmerman has lived the last several months of his life in hiding, and although free in the legal sense, he’s far removed from the lifelong sentence of paranoia. Speaking to CNN’s Piers Morgan Live Saturday night the 29-year-old’s brother Robert Zimmerman Jr. said the former criminal justice student was “relieved” with the trial’s end, and acknowledged the teen’s death. “That does not diminish the tragedy of a young person losing their life,” he said.
According to Robert Jr., his brother is still “processing,” being set free. “He has to align himself again with himself. The free George.”
Walking out of the Florida courtroom lifted a weight off the entire family. “Now we are exonerated as a family and more importantly George is exonerated as a defendant,” Robert continued. “It’s going to take us some time to heal.”
Now that a jury has spoken, under Florida law Zimmerman is allowed to get back the gun used to kill Martin, which is something that “will happen,” so said his one of his lawyers.
As for the family, they’ve “always feared” for Zimmerman’s safety, which could increase given the court proceedings. “He’s going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.”