Zimmerman's acquittal not necessarily the end - Fox 2 News Headlines

Zimmerman's acquittal not necessarily the end of his legal troubles

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On Meet the Press, Reverend Al Sharpton said the Justice Department should bring criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

That's what occurred in the Rodney King case two decades ago, when four Los Angeles police officers who were caught on tape beating King, were found not guilty.

Two of the four cops were eventually sent to prison for violating King's civil rights.

"Clearly, there are grounds for civil rights charges here," said Sharpton.

NAACP President Ben Jealous echoed Sharpton's suggestion telling CNN, "There's reason to be concerned that race was a factor in why he targeted young Trayvon."

The group's website had more than a quarter of a million signatures Sunday night, urging a civil rights prosecution. The Justice Department confirms it's looking at the case, but, this case does differ from the King beating.

Zimmerman is not a cop, so the civil rights law used in the King case wouldn't apply here. The feds would probably need to use a hate crime statute, and the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman essentially found that hatred wasn't proven.

Zimmerman could also face a civil wrongful death lawsuit from Trayvon Martin's relatives. That brings to mind OJ Simpson, acquitted of criminal charges, but later found liable in a wrongful death action. He was ordered to pay 33.5 million dollars to the families of his victims, but they've still collected very little.

Zimmerman's attorneys have said they would fight a wrongful death lawsuit by claiming his actions fell within Florida's stand your ground law, and he acted in self-defense.

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