How Zimmerman’s Colorblind Trial Helps the Justice Dept.’s Case

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 Veteran civil rights attorneys and advocates are convinced that enough evidence of wrongdoing remains from the George Zimmerman case to allow the U.S. Department of Justice to file additional charges against Trayvon Martin’s killer.* Over a million people have signed an NAACP petition in agreement. The Justice Department has responded by reopening the investigation they started early last year, when the Sanford police still were figuring out for weeks if they would even arrest Zimmerman.

“I am concerned about this case and as we confirmed last spring, the Justice Department has an open investigation into it,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the NAACP at their national convention in Orlando yesterday. “While that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the Department of Justice will consider all available information before determining what action to take.”

Civil rights division attorneys in the Justice Department are working with the FBI to evaluate the Zimmerman case above and beyond what was argued in state court. There are two main differences between this federal investigation and the state’s: One, the federal government has broader resources and authority to examine everything that went wrong in the Zimmerman case; and, two, unlike the state’s prosecution, they have no reason to leave race out of it.

Actually, the Justice Department’s intervention is made possible by the state trial’s racial disappearing act. The judge presiding over the Zimmerman trial barred racial profiling evidence from arguments, and the prosecution didn’t bother bringing it up. The jury was instructed to rule based exclusively on the evidence before them, and that evidence made no reference to the idea that Zimmerman may have followed Martin because he was black. Read more here.