George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict was read in Seminole Circuit Court in Sanford, FL on Saturday, July 13, 2013. The jury, comprised of six females, found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
After the verdict was announced, it is reported that the Justice Department is looking into the shooting of Trayvon Martin to determine whether or not federal prosecutors can file criminal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, now that the 29-year-old is acquitted with the state.
According to AP, the Justice Department stated that the criminal branch of its civil rights division is further evaluating the evidence gathered during the federal investigation, including 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. [It will determine] whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.
The Justice Department is known to have a lengthy history of using federal civil rights law against defendants who have previously been acquitted in related state cases (i.e. Rodney King’s case in Los Angeles).