The Washington Post reported yesterday that “The Justice Department is not expected to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”

The reasons why appear in the 10th paragraph of the story:

Mark O’Mara, the lawyer who represented Zimmerman, said that approximately 40 witness statements collected by investigators in 2012 indicated there was no evidence to support a civil rights prosecution.

“I was watching the whole case pretty closely for two years, and they didn’t do anything except take those 40 statements,” O’Mara said. The statements “suggested that George acted in very non-racist ways. He took a black girl to the prom. His best buddy was a black guy. He mentored two black kids. He sought justice for a black homeless man beaten up by a white cop’s son.”

“To those who have seen civil rights investigations and civil rights violations,” he said, “it looked as though the Department of Justice was just placating pressure that existed by suggesting there was an ongoing investigation.”

George Zimmerman, immediately following the vicious attack upon him by Trayvon Martin

(George Zimmerman, immediately following the vicious attack upon him by Trayvon Martin)

It should be noted that those 40 witness statements, collected not by mere “investigators” but by a swarm of FBI Special Agents sent to Sanford FL for that specific purpose, were conducted months prior to the trial even starting.  Indeed, I obtained my personal copies of those statements in the pre-trial discovery file well before jury selection even began.

Anybody reading those reports would have seen instantly that not only were there no facts on which to support a Federal civil rights action against Zimmerman, what facts were collected ran counter to such an action, as noted by O’Mara.

ht_george_zimmerman_head_dm_120419_wmain

(George Zimmerman blood on back of head)

Despite this, Eric Holder claimed just last month, in a news conference about the recent unrest in Ferguson,

That investigation’s ongoing. There are active steps that we are still in the process of taking. There are witnesses who we want to speak to as a result of some recent developments.

What evidence of racial animus they might suddenly discover after two years of fruitless investigation was not specified.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.