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US Justice Department Helped Facilitate Anti-Zimmerman Protests after Trayvon Martin Shooting

Trayvon Martin demonstration in Sanford, Florida; March 19, 2012. (Photo: Werth Media/Flickr Creative Commons)

Trayvon Martin demonstration in Sanford, Florida; March 19, 2012. (Photo: Werth Media/Flickr Creative Commons)

A conservative pro-accountability group has obtained official documents revealing that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) helped facilitate anti-George Zimmerman protests in Florida in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing.

Judicial Watch filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and received government documents proving that the Community Relations Service (CRS), a unit of the Justice Department, was deployed to Sanford, Florida after the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager walking in his father’s gated community, at the hands of self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.

According to Judicial Watch, the CRS team was dispatched to “help organize and manage rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.” According to the documents obtained under the FOIA requests:

-On March 25-27, 2012 CRS spent $674.14 upon “being deployed to Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”

-On March 25-28, CRS spent $1,142.84 on the same types of activities.

-On March 30-April 1, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”

-Also on March 30-April 1, CRS spent $751.60 in Sanford “to provide technical assistance to the city of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.

-On April 3-12, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford to “provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches, conciliation and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”

-On April 11-12, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old African American male.”

“These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”

According to Judicial Watch:

Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the DOJ’s CRS… has greatly expanded its role under President Obama. Though the agency claims to use “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution procedures,” press reports along with the documents obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the unit deployed to Sanford, Florida took an active role in working with those demanding the prosecution of Zimmerman.

On its website, CRS says it’s goal is “assisting state and local government units, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents and civil disorders. The CRS works to restore civility and accord.”

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One Comment

  1. BobJuly 14, 2013 at 5:37 pmReply

    Did you look at those documents? I’ve only looked at maybe a quarter of them. I haven’t seen anything particularly damning, or that fits Judicial Watch’s description. Can you point to one that supports Judicial Watch’s claims?

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