Update: Zimmerman Could Face Civil Rights Lawsuit - WSPA.com

Update: Zimmerman Could Face Civil Rights Lawsuit

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George Zimmerman (AP) George Zimmerman (AP)
SANFORD, Fla. -

Update: July 15, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.

Civil rights case vs. Zimmerman won't be simple

Legal experts say it won't be easy for the Justice Department to mount a federal civil rights case against George Zimmerman after a Florida jury acquitted him of state charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

One observer, former U.S. Attorney Alan Vinegrad, says the department would have to show, among other things, that the attack was unjustified and racially motivated.

Those are some of the same challenges that complicated the unsuccessful state case.

The Justice Department says it's reviewing evidence to determine whether criminal civil rights charges are warranted. It had opened an investigation into Martin's death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.

The NAACP and other groups have called on the Justice Department to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman.

UPDATE: July 14, 2013, 8:50 am

    Demonstrators protested in three California cities against the acquittal of George Zimmerman and officials say they broke windows and vandalized cars in Oakland.

The Oakland police dispatch office said about 100 people protested there and police were dealing with acts of vandalism. The office had no word of any arrests.

Local media reports said some marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters' path.

The Oakland demonstration followed a raucous but largely peaceful one in San Francisco, which police say ended by 10 p.m.

City News Service reported that the verdict also sparked protests in Los Angeles, where hundreds of people gathered in a park for what police termed a peaceful vigil.

At one point, a group stopped a passenger train and police worked to persuade them to return to the nearby park.

UPDATE: July 13, 2013, 11:44 pm

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - The families of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin are reacting on Twitter after Zimmerman was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teen.     

Zimmerman's brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., says his family is relieved that the jury found the neighborhood watch volunteer not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Martin's father, Tracy Martin, tweeted that he's was brokenhearted, but his faith is "unshattered."

George Zimmerman's lead defense attorney says he is "ecstatic" that the former neighborhood watch volunteer has been cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting of Travyon Martin.

Mark O'Mara said Saturday night after the verdict was announced that the only thing Zimmerman was guilty of was protecting himself. Another defense attorney, Don West, says he is pleased the jury "kept this tragedy from becoming a travesty."

Prosecutors say they are disappointed that the jury of six women did not find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder, which they felt was an appropriate charge because Zimmerman's mindset the night he shot Martin "fit the bill."

The jury had also been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

UPDATE: July 13, 2013

George Zimmerman blinked and barely smiled as a jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Supporters of Martin's family who had gathered outside the courthouse yelled out "No! No!"

The jury had been given the chance to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter but did not do so, despite asking for a clarification of the charge earlier in the evening.

Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, had tears in her eyes after the six-member, all-woman jury delivered its verdict Saturday night.

After hearing the verdict, Judge Debra Nelson told Zimmerman he was free to go.

Jurors heard two different portraits of Zimmerman and had to decide whether he was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands or a well-meaning neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense because he feared for his life.

 Jurors start deliberating George Zimmerman case- July 12, 2013

A jury is starting deliberations in the murder trial of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder, but the jury will also be allowed to consider manslaughter. Under Florida's laws involving gun crimes, a conviction on either could mean life in prison.

The jurors have been sequestered during the past three weeks. Because there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, jurors will likely rely heavily on testimony from police, neighbors, friends and family members. The testimony was often conflicting.

Jurors will have to determine whether Zimmerman took the law into his own hands or was in a fight for his life and shot Martin in self-defense.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Rallies, marches follow Zimmerman verdict

Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.

 Demonstrators from across the country are protesting a jury's decision to clear George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager while the Justice Department considers whether to file criminal civil rights charges.

 

Rallies on Sunday attracted anywhere from a few dozen people to more than a thousand as demonstrators voiced their support for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's family - and decried Zimmerman's not guilty verdict as a miscarriage of justice.

The NAACP and protesters are calling for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted Saturday in Martin's death.

The Justice Department says it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.

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