Tags: Justice Department | Civil rights | Trayvon Martin | George Zimmerman | Michael Brown

Justice Department Unable to Find Racial Motive in Trayvon Martin Shooting

Image: Justice Department Unable to Find Racial Motive in Trayvon Martin Shooting
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 08:03 AM

The Justice Department's civil rights division is unlikely for lack of evidence to move ahead with federal charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, The Washington Post reported.

The department has been unable to establish that Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, shot the 17-year-old Martin on purpose because he was African-American.

The case has not been officially closed. Investigators still want to examine Zimmerman's computer.

Martin's killing reignited racial tensions and led to nationwide protests. Last July, President Barack Obama said, "You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago."

Zimmerman was tried in Sanford, Florida on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter and acquitted last year.

Following what Zimmerman supporters said was pressure from the African-American community, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal civil rights investigation of Zimmerman.

A spokesman for the Martin family said they continued "to hope and pray for justice" and would not comment "until they hear officially from the Justice Department" one way or the other, the Post reported.

Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara said that investigators had collected statements from some 40 witnesses in 2012 and found no evidence of a racial angle. The material "suggested that George acted in very non-racist ways," O'Mara said. "He took a black girl to the prom. His best buddy was a black guy. He mentored two black kids. He sought justice for a black homeless man beaten up by a white cop's son," the Post reported.

An unnamed official with knowledge of the proceedings said that it would be very difficult to prove a racial motive. "There is a high burden. We have to prove that a person was doing this with the intent of depriving someone of his civil rights," the Post reported.

The department is also investigating possible civil rights violations in the fatal shooting of  Michael Brown, a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August. Both the Brown and Martin families are being represented by attorney Benjamin Crump, the Post reported.

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The Justice Department's civil rights division is unlikely for lack of evidence to move ahead with federal charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, The Washington Post reported.
Justice Department, Civil rights, Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Michael Brown
362
2014-03-02
Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 08:03 AM
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