MPAC Joins NAACP in Requesting DOJ Civil Rights Inquiry in Trayvon Martin Case
July 15, 2013
MPAC today announced that it sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division supporting the NAACP’s request for an inquiry into whether the civil rights of Trayvon Martin were violated when he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in February 2012. This afternoon, the DOJ released a statement confirming it has an open investigation of the case.
SEE: Justice Department Statement on the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Case (Justice.gov)
MPAC asked the DOJ to work with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Florida to look into whether federal criminal charges can be brought against Zimmerman.
ALSO SEE: “After Zimmerman Verdict, NAACP Calling for Federal Civil Rights Probe” (CBS News)
This weekend, a Florida state jury acquitted Zimmerman of all charges, including second degree murder and manslaughter, in the shooting death of Martin. The acquittal caused nation-wide outrage and protest as communities asked how a 17-year-old unarmed African American boy could be shot and killed without any consequences for the perpetrator.
Although defense attorneys claim that race and profiling played no part in Zimmerman’s actions, many questioned why Zimmerman followed the young boy in the central Florida neighborhood, after 911 responders advised him not to.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said under the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, federal investigators would "have to show that race was a factor in his decision making - and there seems to be plenty of evidence that suggests that may race may have been a factor."
“Whether it is the NYPD’s 'stop and frisk' policy or a self-appointed neighborhood watchman, each of us need to self-reflect on how we view each other and how we train our law enforcement agencies to view minorities,” said Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC’s Washington, DC office.
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