The American Civil Liberties Union has pulled from its website a statement saying that U.S. should launch a civil rights and hate crime investigation into the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, according to POLITICO.
POLITICO noted that the call for the investigation seemed to run counter to federal retrials of cases decided upon at the state level.
However, the civil rights organization has left standing a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging that the government take steps to address racial profiling by law enforcement officials and the residual impact it can have on private individuals who might feel emboldened to target people because of race or ethnicity.
“The ACLU believes the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution protects someone from being prosecuted in another court for charges arising from the same transaction,” the letter to Holder said. “A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the end of the criminal case.”
“However, there are still actions the federal government can take to help communities like Sanford, Florida,” the letter said, “to ensure tragedies similar to Trayvon Martin’s untimely death do not happen again, including preventing widespread racial profiling.”
A request sent to the ACLU for comment did not receive a response.
The organization said in the letter that many unarmed young minority males have the target of police racial profiling, and that the government can help reduce these incidents by providing training for law enforcement that examines profiling and excessive force.
The Department of Justice also can lend technical assistance to state prosecutors in cases where racial profiling may have played a role, the ACLU letter said.