U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is apparently ready to pick up where he left off last year and continue his investigation into whether Trayvon Martin’s civil rights were violated by the recently acquitted George Zimmerman. Holder had stepped aside to let the Florida trial of Zimmerman proceed, but it would appear that the verdict rendered Saturday night is too irresistible for the man who oversees one of the most racially-polarized Justice Departments (DOJ) in the history of the nation. “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, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate,” the DOJ announced.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous was thrilled with the news. Regarding the conclusion of the trial, he said in a statement, “We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict. We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed.”
Such “coordination” between the NAACP and the DOJ has already occurred. As a 2012 article in the Orlando Sentinel reveals, the DOJ’s Community Relations Service (CRS) “helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials” leading to the temporary resignation of Sanford police Chief Bill Lee, who was subsequently fired for failing to file charges against Zimmerman. The article further notes that the CRS, which the DOJ claims “does not take sides” in their role as “peacemakers” in community racial conflicts, also “arranged a police escort for college students to ensure safe passage for their 40-mile march from Daytona Beach to Sanford to demand justice.”
DOJ coordination with the NAACP was not limited to Sanford. In 2010, following a year of stonewalling by the Department, two former DOJ officials testified under oath before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. They revealed that the NAACP pressured the DOJ to drop its already won voter intimidation case against New Black Panther members videotaped at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. Two men were shown dressed in military-style uniforms with one holding a night stick.
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