Attorney General Eric Holder declared on Monday that he shares the worries of those concerned about Travyon Martin’s “tragic, unnecessary shooting death” and the court case that resulted in George Zimmerman’s acquittal.
Speaking to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s national convention, Holder said “the Deltas are deeply, and rightly, concerned about this case.”
“The Justice Department shares your concern – I share your concern – and, as we first acknowledged last spring, we have opened an investigation into the matter,” he said, referring to a process that could lead the department to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
At the White House, press secretary Jay Carney said it would be “inappropriate” for President Barack Obama to weigh in on that process.
“Cases are brought on the merits, and the merits are evaluated by the professionals at the Department of Justice,” Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.
But McClatchy reported that the FBI – which interviewed nearly three dozen people in the case – found no evidence that racial bias motivated Zimmerman to shoot Martin.
“Independent of the legal determination that will be made,” Holder said, the country must “speak honestly about the complicated and emotionally-charged issues that this case has raised.”
“I hope that we will approach this necessarily difficult dialogue with the same dignity that those who have lost the most, Trayvon’s parents, have demonstrated throughout the last year – and especially over the past few days,” Holder said. “They suffered a pain that no parent should have to endure – and one that I, as a father, cannot begin to conceive.”
The Justice Department “will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law,” the attorney general said. “We are committed to standing with the people of Sanford, with the individuals and families affected by this incident, and with our state and local partners in order to alleviate tensions, address community concerns, and promote healing.”
And Holder underlined that his department was “resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents.
“And we will never stop working to ensure that – in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community – justice must be done.”