ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) – – More than half a million people have signed an online petition calling for civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. He was acquitted Friday in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, but he’s now the subject of a Justice Department civil rights investigation. The petition is addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and calls on him to formally file charges. Around 585-thousand people have signed the petition through the NAACP’s website, email and MoveOn.org.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder says the killing of Trayvon Martin was a tragic, unnecessary shooting and that the 17-year-old’s death provides an opportunity for the nation to speak honestly about complicated and emotionally charged issues.
In prepared remarks — Holder’s first public comments since the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the case — the attorney general says Monday that Martin’s parents have suffered a pain that no parent should have to endure. He said the nation must not forgo an opportunity toward better understanding of one another.
On Sunday, the Justice Department said it is reviewing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal civil rights charges are warranted.
The Justice Department opened an investigation into Martin’s death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.