Despite George Zimmerman’s acquittal, the Trayvon Martin case is far from over. On July 15, the Department of Justice announced they are continuing to investigate Zimmerman’s motivations for shooting Martin. From a press release:
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.
It is interesting that the DOJ’s focus will be on whether Zimmerman violated any civil rights statutes. The FBI investigated and later reported that they found no evidence of Zimmerman being racially motivated. They even cite Sanford police detective Anthony Serino, who concluded any profiling was due to Martin’s attire, and that Zimmerman had “a little hero complex, but not as a racist.” But as some have mentioned, the media’s irresponsible and sometimes agenda-driven reporting has spurred on the almost-evidence-free accusations of racism.
To further complicate the matter, the Washington Post is reporting that DOJ officials don’t actually believe civil rights charges could be brought up against Zimmerman. However, Attorney General Eric Holder said at the Delta Sigma Theta sorority convention that the DOJ “shares your concern – I share your concern – and, as we first acknowledged last spring, we have opened an investigation into the matter.”
He continued, saying the DOJ will “combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents.”
Obama, for the most part, has remained ambiguous on the executive branch’s opinion on the case, stating that “we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.” He did, not surprisingly, hint at the need for gun control.
“We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis,” Obama said.