The Justice Department has requested a hold on all evidence from the George Zimmerman trial, fueling speculation that the acquitted neighborhood watch captain may still face additional charges.
The firearm George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin will not be immediately returned to him. Zimmerman was expected to be in possession of the gun by the end of the month, but a new request by the Department of Justice has put those plans on hold.
Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees the department, appears to have held true to his promise that serious consideration would be placed on whether or not Zimmerman should face further charges.
"We are determined to meet division and confusion with understanding and compassion -- and also with truth," Holder said Monday in Washington, D.C., at the national convention for the African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta. "We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents."
The statement came after a push from civil rights groups who hope that the Department of Justice will file separate charges against Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin's right to life. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People started a petition for charges earlier this week after a jury declared Zimmerman "not guilty" on Saturday of second-degree murder. A paragraph from the petition read:
"The most fundamental of civil rights -- the right to life -- was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation."
More than 400,000 people had signed the petition by Monday afternoon. Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, urged the Justice system to continue with further action against Zimmerman in an interview with CBS.
"We put our faith in our justice system," Jealous said. "We ultimately accept this verdict, but just as we accept this verdict, the country should accept that we have civil rights laws for a reason. There is more that can be done and should be done."
A law enforcement agent announced the hold on evidence late Thursday. But sources said to The New York Post that a hold could be standard procedure and does not necessarily mean that an investigation will take place.