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Examiner Editorial: Eric Holder should investigate gun control failure in Chicago, forget George Zimmerman

Neighborhood Watch
George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the tragic death of teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Racial discord entrepreneur Al Sharpton announced Tuesday he will lead a national "Justice for Trayvon" day in 100 cities this weekend to press the Justice Department to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, even though he was acquitted of all charges in the tragic death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. "People all across the country will gather to show that we are not having a two or three-day anger fit," Sharpton said in front of Justice Department headquarters. "This is a social movement for justice."

A two- or three-day anger fit would actually be much preferable. Unfortunately, Attorney General Eric Holder seems intent on encouraging Sharpton and others of his ilk by suggesting the possibility of a federal civil rights prosecution against Zimmerman. Speaking at an NAACP convention in Florida just hours after Sharpton spoke in Washington, Holder again confirmed that his department is still investigating the Zimmerman case and may yet pursue prosecutorial options.

Holder should stop fanning the flames of racial discord. There is simply no federal civil rights law that Zimmerman could possibly have broken. Zimmerman did not act on behalf of the state of Florida, Seminole County, or the city of Sanford. He acted completely alone and was not part of any larger conspiracy.

Martin was not traveling in interstate commerce. He wasn't attempting to vote, stay at a hotel, attend school, find a job, or any of the other many activities federal civil rights law says a victim must be attempting to do in order to trigger federal liability. And even if Holder ignored all those barriers, and tried to prosecute Martin's death as a hate crime, he would have to prove that Zimmerman shot Martin "because of" Martin's race.

Not only did an FBI investigation already determine that none of Zimmerman's neighbors or acquaintances believed he was racist, but the judge in Zimmerman's murder trial found the evidence of racism so lacking, that she forbade the prosecution from blaming race at the trial. Zimmerman has already been tried once for Martin's death. There have been no formal accusations that either the prosecutor or the trial judge exhibited racial bias during the trial in any way.

Unless Holder believes the government's hate crime laws empower federal prosecution of the accused in every murder in the country, he has no business wasting another second on the Zimmerman case. Holder and his boss in the White House are free to use Martin's death to promote their own political agenda, just as they did with the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Similarly, they can advocate changes to Florida's Stand Your Ground law, even though Zimmerman did not invoke that defense. A better use of Holder's time would be figuring out why so many young black men keep being shot to death in Chicago despite it having the most stringent gun control laws in America.