The US Department of Justice has announced that independent federal investigators found insufficient evidence to pursue federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 slaying of Trayvon Martin.
“A comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement, but added that “We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida, fatally shot Martin during an altercation in February 2012. He was acquitted of murder charges in July 2013, by a jury that rejected the prosecutors’ case as lacking sufficient evidence.
The DoJ also said “after a thorough and independent investigation into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Zimmerman’s conduct violated federal criminal civil rights statutes.
The decision comes almost exactly three years after Martin’s death, on February 26, 2012.
Zimmerman claimed and has maintained that he was acting in self-defense from a physical assault when he shot Martin, who was 17 at the time.
Martin’s name became a rallying cry for African civil rights groups protesting police treatment of African-Americans, flaring up last year following the deaths of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York, at the hands of the police.
The DoJ statement went to great lengths to note that the decision “does not reflect an assessment of any other aspect of the shooting” but solely the “department’s inability to meet the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statutes.”
As far as the Department of Justice is concerned, “The investigation into this incident has been closed.” https://m.facebook.com/panafricanliberationmovement?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C1870716091