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Posted: February 24, 2015

Justice Department says no charges to be filed against George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman

WFTV

WASHINGTON —

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The Department of Justice will not pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford.
 
Following Tuesday's announcement, WFTV's Karla Ray spoke to one of the Martin family attorneys about the decision.
 
The family said the decision did not come as a surprise.
 
DOJ officials met Tuesday with Trayvon Martin's parents, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, before announcing the decision.

Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, admitted that it would have been a stretch for the DOJ to pursue charges.
 
She said the only way that Zimmerman could have been indicted on civil rights charges is if the DOJ determined that Martin's killing was a hate crime.
 
According to DOJ officials, after Zimmerman's acquittal in July 2013, federal investigators reviewed all the evidence from the trial. They conducted 75 witness interviews but ultimately decided that there was not enough evidence to support an indictment.
 
Jackson said the emotions behind the protests and calls for action against Zimmerman were sparked by the initial handling of the case by the Sanford Police Department.
 
The discussion has now exploded onto the national level with new cases, including the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.
 
"I think that at this point it's not about George Zimmerman. We should move on, he should move on and the movement is much bigger than one person," Jackson said.
 
Don West, one of the attorneys who represented Zimmerman in his trial, said the federal investigation has been a cloud hanging over his client's head for a year and a half, and though they recognize the tragedy and the loss of Martin's life, they believe that the process worked.
 
He said he wants Zimmerman to move on and live a more normal life now that the cases are over.



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