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Washington Examiner: Trayvon Martin case not fodder for civil rights lawsuit

Published: July 26, 2013
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RACIAL discord entrepreneur Al Sharpton announced last week he would lead a national “Justice for Trayvon” day in 100 cities to press the Justice Department to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, even though he was acquitted of all charges in the tragic death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. “People all across the country will gather to show that we are not having a two or three-day anger fit,” Sharpton said in front of Justice Department headquarters. “This is a social movement for justice.”

A two- or three-day anger fit would actually be much preferable. Unfortunately, Attorney General Eric Holder seems intent on encouraging Sharpton and others of his ilk by suggesting the possibility of a federal civil rights prosecution against Zimmerman. Speaking at an NAACP convention in Florida just hours after Sharpton spoke in Washington, Holder again confirmed that his department is still investigating the Zimmerman case and may yet pursue prosecutorial options.

Holder should stop fanning the flames of racial discord. There is simply no federal civil rights law that Zimmerman could possibly have broken. Zimmerman did not act on behalf of the state of Florida, Seminole County, or the city of Sanford. He acted completely alone and was not part of any larger conspiracy.

Martin was not traveling in interstate commerce. He wasn't attempting to vote, stay at a hotel, attend school, find a job, or any of the other many activities federal civil rights law says a victim must be attempting to do in order to trigger federal liability. And even if Holder ignored all those barriers, and tried to prosecute Martin's death as a hate crime, he would have to prove that Zimmerman shot Martin “because of” Martin's race.

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