Two days before the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, the Department of Justice has officially declined to charge George Zimmerman with federal criminal civil rights offenses.
The investigation, which has been active since a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman in the teen’s death, examined evidence, witness testimony, court transcripts and autopsy reports that had been previously obtained by the state. A team of civil rights prosecutors and FBI agents concluded that, based on the evidence, Zimmerman did not target Martin because of his race. Officials say that they were unable to prove a malicious motive beyond reasonable doubt.
“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,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division in a statement.
Federal investigators delivered the news to Martin’s family earlier today.
“Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in statement. “We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”