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DOJ To Announce No Federal Charges Against George Zimmerman (Update: Announced)

DOJ To Announce No Federal Charges Against George Zimmerman (Update: Announced)

Announcement appears timed to coincide with 3-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death

The Department of Justice will reportedly announce that it will not bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman over Zimmerman’s self-defense killing of Trayvon Martin, reports ABC News.

This decision comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the actual facts of the case. Zimmerman’s claim of lawful self-defense was overwhelmingly supported by evidence presented at trial, and there was no additional evidence suggesting Zimmerman had set out to deliberately violate Martin’s civil rights.

Indeed, the only shocking aspect of this is that it took the Department of Justice 19 months after Zimmerman’s acquittal to make the announcement. Given the Obama Administration’s incessant spinning of the news cycle so as to avoid getting pinned down to any single particular scandal, it seems likely that the announcement will be timed to coincide with the three year anniversary (February 26, two days from today) of Martin’s death.

Soon after the 2012 shooting, the Department of Justice ordered a team of FBI agents to interview witnesses, neighbors, co-workers, and friends of Zimmerman in a search for any evidence of racism.  They didn’t just come up empty; what evidence they did find confirmed that Zimmerman was decidedly not racist.

At trial, Zimmerman’s black neighbor offered glowing testimony about how he had helped her on a regular basis.  Another black witness, a military officer and one of Zimmerman’s college instructors, gave Zimmerman a nod of respectful acknowledgement as he took the witness stand, and had nothing but positive things to say about him.  As a child, Zimmerman did his homework under the watchful eye of his mother alongside black children from the neighborhood.  Months prior to the shooting, Zimmerman had organized and led a protest against the local Sanford Police department, claiming that it had failed to zealously investigate an incident in which a police officer’s son had beaten a black man.

19 months later, and not so much as a single piece of evidence suggesting that Zimmerman has a racist bone in his body.

We covered the Zimmerman case at length here at Legal Insurrection, as well as at my own blog, the Law of Self Defense.  A complete list of all these aggregated posts, including day-to-day coverage of the pre-trial hearings and trial itself, as well as a series of “myth buster” posts debunking the many lies spread about the case by race activists and a cooperative media, can be found here.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

UPDATE by WAJ: It’s official now, with a statement posted on the DOJ website:

The Justice Department announced today that the independent federal investigation found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, officials from the FBI, and the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service met today with Martin’s family and their representatives to inform them of the findings of the investigation and the decision….

The federal investigation examined whether Zimmerman violated civil rights statutes at any point during his interaction with Martin, from their initial encounter through the fatal shooting. This included investigating whether there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman violated Section 3631 by approaching Martin in a threatening manner before the fatal shooting because of Martin’s race and because he was using the residential neighborhood. Investigators also looked at whether there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman violated Section 3631 or Section 249, by using force against Martin either during their struggle or when shooting Martin, because of Martin’s race.

“Although the department has determined that this matter cannot be prosecuted federally, it is important to remember that this incident resulted in the tragic loss of a teenager’s life,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “Our decision not to pursue federal charges does not condone the shooting that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and is based solely on the high legal standard applicable to these cases.”

After a thorough and independent investigation into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of these statutes. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed. This decision is limited strictly to the department’s inability to meet the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statutes; it does not reflect an assessment of any other aspect of the shooting.

NEW! The Law of Self Defense proudly announces the launch of it’s online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense Online Training.  These are interactive, online versions of the authoritative 5-hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars that we give all over the country, but from the convenience of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and on your own schedule.  Click over for more information on our state-specific Law of Self Defense Online Training, and get access to the ~30 minute Section 1. Introduction for free.

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 (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.


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AND, concurrently, ABC NEWS is reverting to this…

Makes you wanna go, “Hmmmmm….”.

Not filing? Duh. A complete lack of supporting evidence does tend to stifle prosecutorial zeal. None of us enjoy getting our, err, posteriors handed to us.


this corrupt regime has got to go…

It was only ‘under investigation’ as a sop to the liberal base. They knew long ago there was no evidence for it. It only comes down now because Holder is leaving office soon. In essense, he’s cleaning out his desk with this announcement.

Ironically, there’s probably more evidence that the DOJ infringed on George Zimmmerman’s civil rights.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    There’s dead-bang evidence that Holder and his boss are race-baiting bigots.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      BTW, if you haven’t already, check this out from James O’Keefe and Project Veritas:

      Eric Garner & Trayvon Martin Family, Michael Brown Lawyer Say Al Sharpton Exploited Their Tragedies

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      I just love the way they phrase it to make it sound as if they know Zimmerman was guilty but they just can’t “meet the high legal standard” to take it to trial.

      Which with this group of race baiting bigots has to mean that there wasn’t a shred of evidence against Zimmerman and overwhelming evidence for him.

        Ragspierre in reply to Gremlin1974. | February 24, 2015 at 9:09 pm

        According to PowerLine, after a self defense case is established, you can’t get to any Federal crime under consideration.

        You could be the most disgusting, loud-mouthed bigot in the world, and you’d still have a right to defend yourself.

        And, as any rational follower of this case knows, Zimmerman was NOT a bigot. He was an Obama voter, so he may not be excessively bright…

          Phillep Harding in reply to Ragspierre. | February 25, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          “He was an Obama voter, so he may not be excessively bright…”

          Heh. Explains why he seems to give the MSM so many openings to slam him.

    If there was a scintilla of evidence it would have been waved prominently from high ground long time ago.

    Does this mean George finally gets his KelTec back?

Oh Hell. The Justice Brothers are going to having a hissy fit over this. They were so invested in getting George Zimmerman some kind of jail time. So was Insane Hussein Obama and his buds in the New Black Panthers. Even now, they are looking to find something that will send Zimmerman to the pokey for at least 20 years, even they have to make up some charge.

    platypus in reply to Stan25. | February 24, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    There’s still the slander suit against NBC. Once that is settled, it will be very hard to overcome the idea that NBC had enough money to litigate if it wanted and that settling was ‘cutting its losses.’

The Leftist politicians and media milked Trayvon Martin death for about as much political mileage as they could, with destructive consequences for both Zimmerman’s and his family’s safety, finances, emotional health, etc., to say nothing of the harm visited upon American society at large, as the slew of demagoguery and distortion served to perpetuate the Left’s cherished, fallacious narrative of black victimhood and systemic racism.

    casualobserver in reply to guyjones. | February 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    The timing of the announcement certainly raises suspicions that the “milking” is still ongoing. I would be pleasantly surprised if this doesn’t include some sort of caveats. They may issue a quick or brief statement about dropping charges, but a lengthy statement about “how far we still have to go…etc.” and other statements to honor Trayvon Martin as a victim.

You just gotta love that ABC News still chooses the picture of Trayvon as a 12-year-old kid. They must be really proud that they were able to provoke millions of people to ignore the evidence of this case in order to promote their political interests.

    Twanger in reply to weenchit. | February 25, 2015 at 11:58 am

    This is precisely why I don’t bother to watch ABC news anymore.
    They are simply the propaganda arm of the leftist socialist state.

Sammy Finkelman | February 24, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Thew time between Attorney Generals is the best time for Obama to break the news.

Sammy Finkelman | February 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Ferguson is next.

So Holder is going to give George his gun back now, right?

“What they told his family and I was that because Trayvon wasn’t able to tell us his version of events, there was a lack of evidence to bring the charges. That’s the tragedy,” [lawyer Ben] Crump said.
—AP story reported on PowerLine

IFFFFF Crump isn’t lying, and that’s what anybody at Do(racial) Justice told the Martin family, that is a NEW OUTRAGE.

    Walker Evans in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Rags, I tend to believe it. Not even Crump could make up a lie THAT big! One that blatant could only originate close to – or on – the desk of the CinC (Cretin in Chief).

    Walker Evans in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Rags, I tend to believe it. Not even Crump could make up a lie THAT big! One that blatant could only originate close to – or on – the desk of the CinC (Charlatin in Chief).

    userpen in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    If Trayvon was able to tell his version of events that would mean he was alive and Zimmerman was dead. In that case there would be no investigation and we would never have heard of this case.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Had he survived, who knows what Trayvon would have said? Maybe he would have confessed to beating up George for being snitch and a creepy-ass cracker. Maybe he would have lied, and said George attacked him, and maybe he would have been charged with assault and battery. Crump doesn’t know.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Having thought about this, I’m angry.

    I want Crump GRILLED about who it was he met with.

    I want that person or those persons to be made to respond with an account of what was said.

    I want this bullshit to end, not be given new legs.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Rags, read the statement, that is exactly what they told them. The statement implies that there was “evidence” just not enough or high quality enough to “meet the high legal standard. So you know that is what they told them.

    Now we will see the family try a civil suit, that will be thrown out because Zimmerman will have it declared self defense and then have the civil protection.

Taste the rainbow! Buy a gun this Thursday as we celebrate the God-given right to defend one’s self from would-be murderers on George Zimmerman day!

    Good lord. “George Zimmerman Day”? I cannot for the life of me understand the Zimmerman fanboiz and fangirlz who have turned this Democrat loser jerk of the first water into some kind of hero.

    Yes, he was falsely accused of first degree murder and civil rights offenses; no, he was clearly not guilty of either. Yes, it’s a good thing that the justice system (finally) worked, and that he’s free to go on his way.

    But he’s still an unmitigated loser, so forgive me for not joining the moist-panted “SQUEEEEEE! I <3 GEORGIE!!!" fan club.

    P.S. I already have a gun. Have had for years. And unlike Your Georgie, I don't go around putting myself in situations where I'll "get" to use it. It doesn't embolden me to go places and to do things and to confront people I wouldn't go, do or confront before I had it. If I can go my whole life without having to shoot anyone in self-defense, I will die a very happy girl.

      ” And unlike Your Georgie, I don’t go around putting myself in situations where I’ll “get” to use it.”

      “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

      Whose side are you on?

        Goodness, you Z-worshiping wannabe-vigilantes sure have tickets on yourselves!

        Yes! Yes, of course! If I’m driving to Target, at night, in the rain, and I see a black kid I don’t recognize, and I don’t grab my gun and get out of my car and go chase him, and then shoot him dead when the almost-inevitable confrontation happens, I’m obviously on the side of Evil™!


          IOW: I don’t go looking to inject myself into situations with my gun, that I wouldn’t inject myself into without it.

          Phillep Harding in reply to Amy in FL. | February 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm

          Okay, you are not a Neighborhood Watch. We get that.

          Oh, and a cite on him “grabbing his gun”, implying he was not wearing the handgun when he got out of the car.

          “Grabbing his gun” would also puzzle me as to why he allowed Darling Trayvon to beat the snot out of him before he pulled his firearm in self defense.

          SmokeVanThorn in reply to Amy in FL. | February 25, 2015 at 4:01 pm

          “If I’m driving to Target, at night, in the rain, and I see a black kid I don’t recognize, and I don’t grab my gun and get out of my car and go chase him, and then shoot him dead when the almost-inevitable confrontation happens, I’m obviously on the side of Evil™!”

          Lies in service of a straw man argument designed to show how nuance-y and sophisticated Ms. Amy can be.

          How very impressive.

          SmokeVanThorn in reply to Amy in FL. | February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          The facts don’t matter to Amy, Phillep. All she gets right with her comparison (“I’m driving to Target, at night, in the rain, and I see a black kid I don’t recognize, and I don’t grab my gun and get out of my car and go chase him, and then shoot him dead when the almost-inevitable confrontation happens”) is that it was a wet night, Martin was black, Zimmerman got out of his car, and Martin was shot dead.

          The rest is distortion, ignorance and/or foolishness.

          ” I don’t go around putting myself in situations where I’ll “get” to use it. It doesn’t embolden me to go places and to do things and to confront people I wouldn’t go, do or confront before I had it.”

          Yet more lies: Zimmerman was in his own neighborhood, where he lived. St Trayvon was at best a visitor.

          Zimmerman didn’t get out of his car “looking to shoot someone”. He got out of his car to OBSERVE someone who wasn’t part of the neighborhood.

          If he’d been looking to use his gun, it would have been drawn.

          Da-yumn, with that kind of deception skill, you should be looking for a job with ABC.

          “Neighborhood Watch.” Not “Neighborhood Watch, Chase Down, Confront, Shoot And Kill.”

          What he did was not unlawful in Florida, but that doesn’t mean it was very smart, or worth emulating. He’s not a hero, nor even a very intelligent man, given the number of times he’s managed to draw the law’s attention since his acquittal.

          And it was George himself, “SmokeVanThorn” (is that your porn name? Cute!) who claimed he was simply on his way to Target when he was called by some Higher Power to get out there and play rent-a-cop.

          “the number of times he’s managed to draw the law’s attention since his acquittal.”

          Oh, you mean like Sarah Palin did enough shady things to draw all the ethics charges?

          Anyone can accuse someone of anything; get back to me when he’s actually done something. You have now moved into Sabrina Erdely territory, where the accusation of rape or any other crime is as good as a conviction.

          Maybe you need to leave the Zimmerman case to Branca.

      ldanforth in reply to Amy in FL. | February 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Amy you’re absolutely right. Has anyone ever wondered why GZ couldn’t defend himself? If someone’s on top of you, punching you, and banging your head against the ground, all you have to do is bring your arms across your face and forehead and brace hard, with all your might, so the person cannot hit you or move your head. You wouldn’t be in danger for your life at all (if that was the case there would be 300 deaths in the NHL yearly). But GZ couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. Why? Because he was panicked about the gun, afraid to move his hands away from it. THAT was the real and only reason he felt in danger for his life. He panicked and shot the kid all because of the gun. And if anyone says he couldn’t defend his face because his arms were pinned, then how did he grab the gun and point it perfect in line with Trayvon’s chest? Bullshit! This was all about a combination of stupidity and a gun.

        No, once he was being beaten by Martin he had every right to defend himself, with deadly force if necessary. And all of the evidence shows that he was, indeed, being beaten by Martin, and no one gets to tell someone who had to defend themselves from a forcible felony how they “should have” defended themselves once they find themselves under attack like that. That’s like telling an attempted rape victim who had to shoot her attacker, “well if you had peed on him or vomited or whatever he might have let you go without you having had to shoot him”.

        My only quibble with GZ’s actions that night was that I don’t think it was an especially smart move for him to have got out of his car, armed, on a dark rainy night, to chase down some youth he thinks is “up to no good”. To me, that’s just looking for trouble, and I wouldn’t have done it; others here apparently would have. But once he went there, and once he was attacked, he did what he had to do to survive, and I don’t have any problem with that. And more importantly, neither does the law.

This was a political trial from the beginning, and for that there is no forgiveness. Is none and must be none. There is a special place in Hell for those who persecuted Zimmerman, from the government officials to the “social justice” activists to the journalists. By their actions they have shown themselves to be enemies of law and of freedom. They are morally unqualified to exercise any of the responsibilities of a citizen. Never forgive, never forget.

Remember Rachel Jeantel? The gal who was talking to Travon Martin. And, who introduced the term “white cracker” into the trial. She was such an unbelievable witness for the prosecution!

I’m so glad this trial was televised!

After the trial Alan Dershowitz said that Zimmerman had been OVER-CHARGED! How come we don’t talk about that? Has it become customary for prosecutors to over-charge? It’s no wonder Zimmerman left court hearing the Not Guilty verdict.

The prosecutor’s name was Guy. He was the one who brought in the life-sized grey dummy. Then Mark O’Mara used this dummy (straddling it), during his close.

Shouldn’t this stuff be taught in law schools?

    Dershowitz eviscerated the prosecution PRE-trial.

    Prosecutor called Harvard Law School, threatened to sue him, and them.

    He laughed his ass off, wrote a column about it.

    No Harvard ivy wilted.


    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

We cannot know freedom until judges, attorneys, and law enforcement officials are subject to the same criminal and civil liabilities like the rest of the population are.

ABC reporter Pierre Thomas claims that “Martin was walking to his home with only Skittles and an iced tea in his hands.” That is a flat LIE. Martin was NOT walking home. He had already been home and had gone back out to find and attack Zimmerman. That is the implication of the most famous revelation in the entire case, the point where Jeantel called Zimmerman’s lawyer “retarded” because he failed to grasp that she had just proved his case for him by admitting that when she reconnected with Martin on the phone, before the confrontation, he said he was back at his father’s fiancée’s house. From there he had to go a hundred yards back towards Zimmerman to reach the point where the struggle took place. Here is Jeantel’s testimony from the trial:

West asked why Trayvon Martin “decided to approach this man and say ‘why you following me,” when he could have “just run home.”

“He was already by his house,”Jeantel replied. “He told me.”

That little exchange is why all the jurors, even the obviously racist black woman (who was angry that she had no grounds to find Zimmerman guilty) had to find Zimmerman not guilty. The best evidence they had said that Martin had already reached his father’s house and had gone back out to confront or attack Zimmerman, Jeantel also said later that she believes that it was Martin who started the fight.

ABC has lied about this case from day one and they are doing it still, trying to foment racial hatred which they believe helps to advance their radical leftist political ideology. No one should ever believe a word that this ABC propagandist Pierre Thomas ever says about anything for as long as he lives. Mark his name. Anyone who would lie about the most prominent testimony in the case he is writing about will lie about anything and everything. Pierre Thomas LIAR. Every place his name ever appears on the internet, the FACT that he is a liar should be tattooed along with it, and someday, the internet will be capable of incorporating that information, so we can finally file this left wing trash in the dustbin of history.

smalltownoklahoman | February 25, 2015 at 8:11 am

If we could we would but we can’t so we shant.

Just what came to mind after reading this, especially those last few lines.

If there be Gods, let them kill this story.