- (Photo: Reuters)
Following George Zimmerman's acquittal for second-degree murder in the case of Trayvon Martin, civil rights groups are now pushing the department of justice to file new charges.
Further legal action can still be taken against George Zimmerman. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has started a petition to request that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. A jury declared Zimmerman "not guilty" on Saturday of second-degree murder. A paragraph from the petition reads:
"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."
Jealous suggested the Zimmerman case could still be viewed as a "hate crime." From that perspective, previous cases revolving around hate crime could be used to justify additional charges against Zimmerman.
"They would step in and file federal civil rights charges probably based on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which says that in effect a hate crime is a hate crime wherever it happens," Jealous said.
The Department of Justice said that it is currently reviewing evidence in the case.
"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," Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said in a statement Sunday.