Justice Dept.: No federal charges in Trayvon Martin death

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Justice Dept.: No federal charges in Trayvon Martin death
This image taken from a video released by attorney Howard Iken on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, shows George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, during an interview in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, March 7, 2014. The video was made by Iken who is representing Zimmerman in his divorce. In the video, Zimmerman says he’s trying to be a good person and he thinks he can help others after what he has gone through. (AP Photo/Howard Iken)
This Feb. 27, 2012 photo released by the State Attorney's Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood†watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, with blood on the back of his head. The photo and reports were among evidence released by prosecutors that also includes calls to police, video and numerous other documents. The package was received by defense lawyers earlier this week and released to the media on Thursday, May 17, 2012. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office)
The mother of Trayvon Martin says she was saddened with the Justice Department's decision to not pursue federal criminal charges against George Zimmerman.
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on so-called "stand your ground laws." Fulton mother told a panel of senators that state stand your ground self-defense laws do not work and must be amended, reviving the politically charged gun control issue. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 file photo, George Zimmerman, right, is escorted to a home by a Lake Mary police officer, in Lake Mary, Fla., after a domestic incident in the neighborhood where Zimmerman and his wife Shellie had lived during his murder trial. Whether they think he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer “standing his ground,” many Americans can’t seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can’t seem to stop giving it to them. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday it isn't filing charges against George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte, Jr., left of center, leads a chant Friday, July 26, 2013 in the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee, Fla. At bottom, third from left, is Dream Defenders Executive Director Phillip Agnew. Dream Defenders were joined by Belafonte, Jr. as they went into their 11th day of a sit-in of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office. The sit-in is their response to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin. They are continuing to demand Scott call a special session. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
FILE - This undated file family photo shows Trayvon Martin. The Sanford police department released a video Thursday, March 29, 2012, showing George Zimmerman being escorted into the Sanford police station in handcuffs on Feb. 26, 2012, the night he fatally shot Martin. (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)
Sybrina Fulton stands with Rev. Al Sharpton at a rally for her son Trayvon Martin, the teen shot by George Michael Zimmerman while on Neighborhood Watch patrol Thursday, March 22, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman's claim of shooting the teen in self defense has been questioned by community leaders. (AP Photo/Roberto Gonzalez)
FILE - This undated file police photo provided by the Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald shows George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26. Trayvon Martin’s supporters pack churches, swarm rallies and wear hooded sweat shirts in solidarity while friends and family of Zimmerman remain largely out of sight. The few that have defended Zimmerman did so reluctantly, most fearing public backlash. (AP Photo/Orange County Jail via The Miami Herald, File)
This Feb. 27, 2012 photo released by the State Attorney's Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, with blood on the back of his head. The photo and reports were among evidence released by prosecutors that also includes calls to police, video and numerous other documents. The package was received by defense lawyers earlier this week and released to the media on Thursday, May 17, 2012. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, file photo, George Zimmerman, acquitted in the high-profile killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, listens in court, in Sanford, Fla., during his hearing on charges including aggravated assault stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. Prosecutors announced Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, that they will not file domestic violence charges against Zimmerman. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
George Zimmerman, acquitted in the high-profile killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, listens in court Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Sanford, Fla., during his hearing on charges including aggravated assault stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
The trial of George Zimmerman at the Seminole County Courthouse, Monday, July 1, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
In this image from video, George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. (AP Photo/TV Pool)
Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert, describes George Zimmerman's injuries during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Don West, a defense attorney for George Zimmerman, addresses the jury as he points to a map during opening statements in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
In this image taken from video at the Sanford, Fla., Police Department, George Zimmerman, in red jacket, is escorted into the Sanford police station in handcuffs on Feb. 26, 2012, the night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Sanford Police Department)
In this Wednesday, March 28, 2012 photo provided by the New York City Council, council members gather on the steps of New York's City Hall under a photo of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager who was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. (AP Photo/New York City Council, William Alatriste)
FILE- In this July 3, 2013 file photo, assistant state attorneys John Guy, left, and Bernie de la Rionda, right, display the sweatshirt worn by Trayvon Martin the night he was shot by George Zimmerman during the Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. In 2012, Florida's story of the year was George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin. In 2013, it was Zimmerman's acquittal on charges that he murdered Martin. In an overwhelming vote, Florida's newspaper editors and broadcasters voted Zimmerman's trial and acquittal the state's top story of the year. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool, File)
FILE - In this July 15, 2013 file photo Jaylen Reese, 12, marches to downtown Atlanta during a protest of George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. The shooting of an unarmed black teen by Ferguson, Mo., police over the weekend has drawn comparisons to high-profile racially charged deaths of black men and teens around the country. When Zimmerman was acquitted the next year, authorities braced for rioting. Yet while many voiced their frustration, including the nation's first black president, the reaction was overwhelmingly peaceful. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
FILE - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, George Zimmerman leaves the courtroom for a lunch break his trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla. The manager of Florida business where George Zimmerman was questioned by police on Sunday, July 27, 2014, said Tuesday that Zimmerman was never hired to provide security, despite his claims otherwise to authorities. According to a police report, Zimmerman told officers the owner gave him permission to be there to provide security after a recent burglary. No citations were issued. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
FILE - In this March 22, 2012 file photo James Gilchrist of Orlando, Fla., wearing a hoodie and holding a rose, attends a rally for Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, as he patrolled a gated community in Florida. Though he was not a sworn police officer, his case raised some of the same questions in the wake of the killing of 18-year old Michael Brown in Missouri about the role race might pay in the killings of young black men by people in positions of authority. (AP Photo/Roberto Gonzalez, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, file photo, George Zimmerman, acquitted in the high-profile killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, listens in court, in Sanford, Fla., during his hearing on charges including aggravated assault stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. Zimmerman is asking a judge to change the terms of his bond so he can have contact with his girlfriend. Zimmerman on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, filed an affidavit from his girlfriend that says she doesn’t want him charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Assistant State Attorney Lymary Munoz,right, argues for a high bail amount for George Zimmerman, second left, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Sanford, Fla., during Zimmerman's hearing on charges including aggravated assault stemming from a fight with his girlfriend. Looking on with Zimmerman are attorney's Daniel Megaro, left, and Jeff Dowdy, center. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
In this Monday, July 1, 2013 photo, George Zimmerman enters the Seminole County Courthouse, in Sanford, Fla., during his trial on second degree murder for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Whether they think he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer “standing his ground,” many Americans can’t seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can’t seem to stop giving it to them. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
FILE - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, George Zimmerman leaves the courtroom for a lunch break his trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla. A Seminole County Sheriff's Office statement says Zimmerman was arrested Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, after deputies responded to a disturbance call at a house in Apopka, Fla. Zimmerman will be transported and booked into jail. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, confers with her attorney Kelly Sims at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband's arrest, and she was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, leaves the courtroom at the Seminole County Courthouse in Sanford, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband's arrest, and she was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
People walk in a community march for justice for Trayvon Martin, Monday, July 22, 2013 in Phoenix. Dozens of people participated in a protest march in Phoenix on Monday, calling for federal civil rights charges to be filed against Florida neighborhood watch activist George Zimmerman. A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Aqua Etefia holds up a Trayvon Martin mask as he attends a "Justice for Trayvon" rally, Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Miami. The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized "Justice for Trayvon" rallies nationwide to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Lynn Moore, of Salt Lake City, shows her support during a rally at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 20, 2013. "Justice for Trayvon" rallies were held nationwide to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Tommie Butler, 6, stands with his grandmother Sharon Jasper at a rally held in reaction to the recent George Zimmerman acquittal in New Orleans, Saturday, July 20, 2013. The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized "Justice for Trayvon" rallies nationwide to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Alvin Duplessis, 10, left, and Thomas McGriff, 5, foreground, hold signs with others from the Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries Church of New Orleans, at a rally held in reaction to the recent George Zimmerman acquittal in New Orleans, Saturday, July 20, 2013. The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized "Justice for Trayvon" rallies nationwide to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
People hold cardboard cutouts of hoodies during "Justice for Trayvon" rally in New York, Saturday, July 20, 2013. The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized "Justice for Trayvon" rallies nationwide to press for federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on so-called "stand your ground laws." Fulton mother told a panel of senators that state stand your ground self-defense laws do not work and must be amended, reviving the politically charged gun control issue. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
In this Saturday, July 13, 2013. photo, George Zimmerman, center, speaks with his legal counsel, Mark O'Mara, right, and Don West during Zimmerman's second degree murder trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Whether they think he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer “standing his ground,” many Americans can’t seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can’t seem to stop giving it to them. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Tracy Martin, left, the father of slain 17-year old Floridian Trayvon Martin, is applauded during a forum entitled "The Status of Black Males: Ensuring Our Boys Mature Into Strong Men" on Capitol Hill Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Others are Martin's lawyer Benjamin Crump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Dream Defender members and their supporters hold up a banner in memory of Trayvon Martin, Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Martin, 17, was killed Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Fla. by George Zimmerman. Dream Defenders are demonstrating and organizing pressure in response to the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman trial and other civil rights issues in the state. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
An image of Trayvon Martin and a bullet shell keychain hanging from a protester's lanyard are seen during a demonstration in reaction to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman on Monday, July 15, 2013, in Los Angeles. Anger over the acquittal of the U.S. neighborhood watch volunteer who shot dead an unarmed black teenager continued Monday, with civil rights leaders saying mostly peaceful protests will continue this weekend with vigils in dozens of cities. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Craig Green, of Atlanta, chants during a protest downtown of George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, Monday, July 15, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Yensenia Vega holds up a sign during a vigil for Trayvon Martin at the Torch of Friendship monument on Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Miami, Fla. Demonstrators upset with the verdict protested mostly peacefully in Florida, Milwaukee, Washington, Atlanta and other cities overnight and into the early morning.(AP Photo/Javier Galeano)
In this image from video, George Zimmerman smiles after a not guilty verdict was handed down in his trial at the Seminole County Courthouse, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman was cleared of all charges Saturday in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose killing unleashed furious debate across the U.S. over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. (AP Photo/TV Pool)
George Zimmerman, second from right, stands with his defense team Mark O'Mara, left, Don West, second from left, and Lorna Truett, right, during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Standing next to his defense attorney Don West, left, George Zimmerman addresses Judge Debra Nelson during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
George Zimmerman, right, with his defense attorneys Mark O'Mara, left, and Don West, center, addresses Judge Debra Nelson during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
An image is projected during testimony by forensics animation expert Daniel Shoemaker during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Defense counsel Mark O'Mara and an assistant carry Trayvon Martin's hooded sweatshirt in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a forensic pathologist and gunshot wound expert, describes George Zimmerman's injuries during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Defense witness Eloise Dilligard is sworn-in for testimony via teleconference in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Dilligard was a neighbor of Zimmerman in 2012 and testified that she thought it was his voice on the 911 tape. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
John Donnelly, a friend of George Zimmerman, cries on the witness stand after listening to screams on the 911 tape entered in evidence during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole Circuit Court, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, July 8, 2013. Donnelly identified the screams as belonging to Zimmerman. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Amy Siewert, a firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, faces the jury as she demonstrates George Zimmerman's gun during his trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
Amy Siewert, a firearms expert with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, holds George Zimmerman's gun during the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
George Zimmerman, left, and defense attorney Mark O'Mara speak during a recess in Zimmerman's trial in Seminole County circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, in 2012. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
State evidence photos, including various photos of George Zimmerman on the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting, are projected on a video screen in the courtroom during the 15th day of Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, June 28, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
George Zimmerman stands during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, June 27, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
Rachel Jeantel, the witness that was on the phone with Trayvon Martin just before he died, gives her testimony to the prosecution, during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
Defense attorney Mark O'Mara, right, shows a photograph of George Zimmerman to witness Jeannee Nanalo during George Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)
George Zimmerman wipes his brow before the start of court during his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Defense counsel Mark O'Mara holds up a photo of George Zimmerman from the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting during the trial of George Zimmerman at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, July 12, 2013. Zimmerman is charged in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Mark O'Mara, defense attorney for George Zimmerman, carries a slab of concrete toward the jury during closing arguments on the 24th day of the Zimmerman trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, July 12, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Defense counsel Mark O'Mara shows a photo of George Zimmerman to the jury during the trial of George Zimmerman at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, July 12, 2013. Zimmerman is charged in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
State exhibit photos, including this of George Zimmerman on the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting, are projected on a video screen in court during the 15th day of Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court, in Sanford, Fla., Friday, June 28, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
Diana Smith, crime scene technician for the Sanford Police Department, shows the jury George Zimmerman's gun, which was collected as evidence at the crime scene, during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Sybrina Fulton, left, mother of slain teen Trayvon Martin, and family attorney Benjamin Crump, watch the proceedings in the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 17, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
George Zimmerman looks back at the gallery, with Assistant State Attorneys Bernie de la Rionda, foreground, in Seminole circuit court on the first day of his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 10, 2013. Zimmerman is accused in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank/Pool)
FILE- In this combo made from Feb. 27, 2012 photos provided by the State Attorney's Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin. The photo and reports were among more than 200 pages of photos and eyewitness accounts released by prosecutors Thursday, May 17, 2012. After the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hands of a neighborhood watch leader, civil rights leaders warned that Sanford risked its upscale reputation and could become a 21st century version of civil rights flashpoints like Selma, Alabama. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office, File)
FILE - This file booking photo provided by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office shows George Zimmerman. The former neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin told his wife to buy bulletproof vests for them and for his attorney, according to jailhouse calls released Monday, June 18, 2012. "As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one," George Zimmerman told his wife. (AP Photo/Seminole County Sheriff's Office, File)
This Feb. 27, 2012 photo released by the State Attorney's Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood†watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin. The photo and reports were among evidence released by prosecutors that also includes calls to police, video and numerous other documents. The package was received by defense lawyers earlier this week and released to the media on Thursday, May 17, 2012. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office)
This Feb. 27, 2012 photo released by the State Attorney's Office shows the hands of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin. The photo and reports were among evidence released by prosecutors that also includes calls to police, video and numerous other documents. The package was received by defense lawyers earlier this week and released to the media on Thursday. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office)
In this Saturday, July 13, 2013 photo George Zimmerman stands during a break in his second degree murder trial in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Whether they think he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer “standing his ground,” many Americans can’t seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can’t seem to stop giving it to them. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)
This Feb. 27, 2012 photo released by the State Attorney's Office shows George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, with blood on the back of his head. The photo and reports were among evidence released by prosecutors that also includes calls to police, video and numerous other documents. The package was received by defense lawyers earlier this week and released to the media on Thursday, May 17, 2012. (AP Photo/State Attorney's Office)
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MIAMI (AP) -- George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin in a 2012 confrontation with the teenager, will not face federal charges, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The decision, announced in the waning days of Attorney General Eric Holder's tenure, resolves a case that focused public attention on self-defense gun laws and became a flashpoint in the national conversation about race two years before the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting.

Zimmerman has maintained that he acted in self-defense when he shot the 17-year-old Martin during a confrontation inside a gated community in Sanford, Florida, just outside Orlando. Martin, who was black, was unarmed when he was killed. Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.

Once Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder by a state jury in July 2013, Martin's family turned to the federal investigation in final hopes that he would be held accountable for the shooting.

That probe focused on whether the killing could be charged as a federal hate crime and on whether Zimmerman willfully deprived Martin of his civil rights, a difficult legal standard to meet. But Justice Department officials said they ultimately determined there was insufficient evidence to prove Zimmerman killed the teenager on account of his race.

"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," Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department's top civil rights official, said in a statement announcing the decision.

Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, was on a flight and couldn't immediately comment on the decision. A call to Zimmerman's cellphone went directly to voicemail.

Martin's parents were too distraught after their meeting in Miami with Justice Department officials to speak with reporters, said their attorney Ben Crump, who called the decision a "bitter pill to swallow" even though it was expected.

"What they told his family and I was that because Trayvon wasn't able to tell us his version of events, there was a lack of evidence to bring the charges. That's the tragedy," Crump said.

The February 2012 confrontation began after Zimmerman observed Martin while driving in his neighborhood. Zimmerman called police and got out of his car and approached Martin, who was returning from a store while visiting his father and his father's fiancee at the same townhome complex where Zimmerman lived. Zimmerman did not testify at his trial, but he told investigators that he feared for his life as Martin straddled him and punched him during the fight.

Federal investigators said they examined the case under multiple civil rights provisions, including ones that make it illegal to use force against someone based on their race and another that criminalizes race-based interference with a person's housing rights. They conducted roughly 75 witness interviews, examined police reports and reviewed all of the evidence gathered during the state prosecution.

The Justice Department's decision was not surprising because there was no direct or circumstantial evidence that Zimmerman's actions were motivated by race, said Tamara Rice Lave, a professor at the University of Miami's School of Law.

In a 911 call, as he followed Martin through their Sanford neighborhood, Zimmerman said the teenager "looks black."

"But he doesn't say the things that would make you think it was motivated by race," Lave said. "He doesn't call him the N-word."

Black leaders in Sanford, where Martin was shot, said they weren't surprised by the decision.

"I was expecting this to happen," said Turner Clayton, a former local leader of the NAACP.

The decision to not prosecute Zimmerman comes even though Holder has made civil rights a cornerstone of his tenure. The Justice Department is also moving to resolve a separate high-profile civil rights case - the August shooting by a Ferguson police officer of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. The killing sparked weeks of protests.

Days after Zimmerman was acquitted, Holder said he considered Martin's death an "unnecessary shooting." In a news release Tuesday, Holder echoed remarks he made in the shooting's aftermath.

"Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man's premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface," Holder said. "We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future."

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