Despite George Zimmerman’s acquittal by a jury of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—and despite the Fifth Amendment’s assurance that no person shall be “twice put in jeopardy” legally for the same offense—the Obama administration has decided to employ its political machinery to persecute Zimmerman.

“Florida authorities have delivered all evidence related to the George Zimmerman investigation to federal officials, who are weighing whether to pursue a civil rights case,” CNN reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are pursuing this case despite the fact that Zimmerman was already tried and acquitted in the matter, and despite the fact that no significant evidence indicates the shooting was racially motivated. (Indeed, in 2011 Zimmerman protested the abuse of a black man, which strongly indicates that he was not racially motivated to harm blacks.)

Note that the question of whether Zimmerman was guilty of committing a crime is entirely separate from the question of whether he acted appropriately leading up to his confrontation with Martin. (I agree with with Paul Hsieh and Wayne Laugesen that Zimmerman needlessly provoked a confrontation with Martin even after the police asked him to stand down.)

The federal government's pursuit of Zimmerman is not about justice—that was already served in a Florida courtroom. What, then, is it about? It is about politics. Consider a few of the ways in which this is so:

  • Rather than deal forthrightly with the many scandals involving the Obama administration—the IRS’s persecution of conservative groups, the NSA’s troubling expansion of its domestic spying powers, the lingering questions about the terrorist murders at the Benghazi consulate, and the U.S. arming of Islamists abroad, to name a few—Obama and Holder would rather pour gasoline on racial tensions.
  • Rather than forthrightly acknowledge the facts that around half of all homicides in the United States involve black victims and that “from 1976 to 2005 . . . black victims were killed by blacks 94% of the time,” Obama would rather pretend that the most pressing issue pertaining to violence is Zimmerman and his conservative supporters.
  • Holder misleadingly tied the Zimmerman case to Florida’s “stand your ground” laws pertaining to self-defense, despite the fact that “stand your ground” was clearly irrelevant to Zimmerman’s trial. A major reason the case became national news is that Obama and his supporters used it to advocate federal gun-restriction laws.

Obama, Holder, and their underlings should quit playing national politics with what should be a local criminal matter. And the rest of America should heed the warning implied in Thomas Sowell’s comments about the case:

The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America—at least for now—despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic.

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Creative Commons Image: Ryan J. Reilly

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