Evidence used in the high-profile case against 29-year-old George Zimmerman is now in the custody of the Department of Justice.
Authorities from the state of Florida handed over all information used in the prosecution of Zimmerman on second-degree murder charges to the federal agency on July 22.
“On July 22, the Sanford Police Department turned over all of the evidence from the Zimmerman case to the Department of Justice,” said the Sanford Police Department in a statement released the same day. “This evidence included the gun.”
Protestors have carried out hundreds of demonstrations at all points across the country since the not guilty verdict was handed up by an all-woman (six) jury on July 13.
Racial tension has been running at an all-time high since Zimmerman was told he would not be held responsible for the homicide that occurred after he followed a 17-year-old Trayvon Martin for almost a mile. The teen was coming from a convenience store to the home of his father’s fiancé on Feb. 26, 2012.
Americans of all colors allege that Zimmerman followed Martin and suspected him of being a one of the “punks” known for burglarizing homes in his gated Sanford, Fla. community because he was African American.
After tracking the teen, Zimmerman said he and the teenager became engaged in a physical confrontation and that, during a scuffle, he fired a single shot that fatally wounded the youth in self-defense.
Though he has been acquitted, it is clear that Zimmerman still faces the prospect of a wrongful death suit by the Martin family and Justice Department litigation under civil rights laws.
“As the Department first acknowledged last year, we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin,” said the Department of Justice in a statement released just two days after the not guilty verdict was reached and the judge declared Zimmerman released.
“Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.”