In an anti-climactic but expected move, the U.S. Justice Department said no federal civil rights charges would be brought against George Zimmerman for the 2012 fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Attorney General Eric Holder said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Zimmerman, 31, for the shooting that shattered a family and ignited a national debate. “A comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here,” Holder said. Before he leaves office, Holder is also likely to decline federal charges against former Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, and to announce results of a broader investigation into a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional behavior by the Ferguson Police Department.
In the Zimmerman case, federal investigators conducted 75 witness interviews, hired a “biomechanical expert” to assess Zimmerman's actions and reviewed “witness statements, crime scene evidence, cellphone data, ballistics reports, reconstruction analysis, medical and autopsy reports, depositions and the trial record.” “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.