US
              George Zimmerman, right, stands next to one of his defense attorneys, Don West, during his trial in Seminole circuit court, Friday, July 5, 2013, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)

NAACP’s petition for federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman reaches one million signatures

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said Tuesday that its petition calling on the Justice Department to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman has amassed over one million signatures.

The petition, which was created shortly after a Florida jury ruled Saturday that George Zimmerman was not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, received one million signatures in 2 1/2 days. 

“It is clear George Zimmerman’s bias played a major role in the events that led to the death of Trayvon Martin,” NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “A cousin called the police days after the murder and said, ‘I think he did this because of race.’ He had previously called the police dozens of times, disproportionately about young men of color who he thought were suspect.”

The petition, which was created in partnership with MoveOn.org, calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

“The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin,” the petition reads. “We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.”

Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, noted that the amount of support the petition has received is indicative of how Americans see the justice system.

“The support our petition has received shows the mindset of the American public, who are tired of a system of justice that allows for appalling verdicts like the one we saw on Saturday,” Brock said in a statement

Jealous added that he believes there is enough evidence to prove race was a factor in Zimmerman’s actions.

“George Zimmerman himself stated on the night of the attack, ‘These punks always get away with this,’ Jealous said. “The law says you must be able to show that race was a factor and that bodily harm was done. We believe there is enough evidence to satisfy this standard.”

Holder is speaking before the NAACP convention in Orlando, Fla. Tuesday afternoon.

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