MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The NAACP has called for the Justice Department to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman.
Late Saturday evening a jury of six women took 16 hours and 20 minutes to acquit Zimmerman of second degree murder in the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
By Sunday afternoon nearly half a million people had signed an online petition created by NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous which called on the DOJ to launch a civil rights investigation “against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.”
“A jury has acquitted George Zimmerman, but we are not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. Sign our petition to the Department of Justice today,” read a note accompanying the petition on Moveon.org.
Though the department has a history of using federal civil rights law in an effort to convict defendants who’ve previously been acquitted in state cases, it’s not always easy. The department said in a statement Sunday afternoon that it’s looking into the case to determine whether federal civil rights charges should be filed.
Supporters have suggested that Martin’s parents file a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s lawyers have said he’ll seek immunity. Florida’s stand your ground law, which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight, may offer him that immunity if a judge concludes he acted in self-defense, said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in Miami.
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