WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
The NAACP and protesters called for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was acquitted Saturday in Martin's February 2012 shooting death, which unleashed a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice.
In a statement Sunday, the Justice Department said the criminal section of the civil rights division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Florida are continuing to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal probe, in addition to the evidence and testimony from the state trial.
The statement said that, in the government's words, "experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation."
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and religious and civil rights leaders urged calm in hopes of ensuring peaceful demonstrations in the wake of a case that became an emotional flash point.
On Monday, Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-3rd District)) said he's encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice has decided to take another look at this case to see if there is a federal prosecutable violation.
In a statement, he said, "I expect that the Department will review possible violations of the Civil Rights Act and federal hate crimes law. I fully expect the Justice Department to diligently review all the evidence gathered in both the state trial and last year's federal investigation before deciding whether or not to bring any federal charges. The Martin family may also pursue civil remedies against Mr. Zimmerman for the tragic and senseless death of their son.