Justice Dept. Soliciting Help in Zimmerman Civil Rights Probe

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 02:04 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The Department of Justice has asked civil rights groups and community leaders for help in investigating whether a criminal case can be brought against George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Barbara Amwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, said that on Monday she joined a Justice Department conference call to discuss the matter.

"They were calling on us to actively refer anyone who had any information" that might build a case against Zimmerman for either a civil rights violation or a hate crime, she said. "They said they would very aggressively investigate this case."

Amwine said the call was organized by Tom Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and President Barack Obama's nominee to be Labor secretary, and included officials from the FBI as well as several federal prosecutors.

The DOJ has also set up an email address, Sanford.floridaa@usdoj.gov, to receive tips on the case.

Amwine said that in addition to her organization, other participants in the call included Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Laura Murphy, Washington chapter head of the American Civil Liberties Union, and several Florida-based "human relations" groups.

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