Two Democratic Congressman from New York, Rep. Gregory Meeks and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, are among several congressman, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, calling on the Department of Justice to intervene in the George Zimmerman case.
On Saturday a jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a verdict that sparked outrage and protests across the country.
Congressmen Meeks and Jeffries believe that race was an issue in the case and are calling on the Department of Justice to take action.
Many civil rights advocates including NAACP President Ben Jealous and msnbc’s Al Sharpton are also calling on the federal government to pursue the case.
U.S Attorney General Eric Holder assured those concerned that he will go forward with a civil rights investigation into the matter. Speaking about the case for the first time since the verdict Holder told a convention of the nation’s largest black sorority, ”The Justice Department shares your concern. I share your concern.”
Despite Holder’s promises to investigate further, it’s uncertain that the probe will lead to charges. The federal government has been considering whether or not to file charges since spring 2012, and prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because of his race.
After the verdict, defense lawyer Mark O’Mara said race had not played any role in Zimmerman’s actions that night and said his client had been made a “scapegoat” by civil rights advocates.
“I think that things would have been different if George Zimmerman was black for this reason: he never would have been charged with a crime,” he said.
“The facts that night, [it] was not borne out that he acted in a racial way,” O’Mara added. “His history is a non-racist.”
Editor’s note: George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.