George Zimmerman, watch captain and shooter of the 17-year-old victim, claimed to have shot in self defense and was released with no charges.
After news of the teenager’s death went viral, however, outrage resulted at the lack of criminal charges brought on by the shooting.
The Department of Justice issued a statement:
“The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI opened an investigation into the facts and circumstances of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation. The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids – the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws. The Community Relations Service will be in Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders, and local law enforcement to address tension in the community.”
Following the release, it was also announced that a grand jury will investigate the case, calling for a session for the Seminole County Grand Jury on April 10. — Jazmine Gray