Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the growing concerns of many Americans who seek justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death 7 weeks ago by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Holder spoke this morning in Washington DC at the annual convention of the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Saying he couldn't give specific details into the Justice Department's investigation, Holder assured Trayvon's supporters that justice will be served.
"I know that many of you are greatly — and rightly — concerned about the recent shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a young man whose future has been lost to the ages," he said.
"Although I cannot share where current efforts will lead us from here, I can assure you that, in this investigation — we will examine the facts and the law. If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action. And, at every step, the facts and the law will guide us forward."
Holder is surely aware of the widespread criticism of Angela Corey, the Jacksonville state attorney who was appointed prosecuting attorney of the case in March. Since then, the investigation into Trayvon's death has ground to a halt.
According to ABC News' Stephanie Washington, "Law enforcement official told Washington Post Angela Corey will announce as early as Wednesday charges against George Zimmerman."
Zimmerman's attorneys, who dropped him as a client Tuesday, revealed during a press conference that Corey has never attempted to interview Zimmerman. Instead, Zimmerman has reached out to Corey by phone to give his side of the story.
The embarrassed state prosecutor's office quickly sent out a statement last night alerting the media that Corey would make an announcement about the case on Friday at the latest. There were no specifics given about what Corey is expected to say in the press conference.
Holder was confirmed as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States under President Barack Obama in 2009. He is the first black man to hold the position.
Read more of Holder's prepared statement below.
From the Wall Street Journal:
[E]ven though overall national crime rates are at historic lows, today the leading cause of death for young black men — those aged 15 to 24 — is homicide. And that, on average, 16 young people are murdered every day.
How can our nation risk losing so many of tomorrow’s leaders, teachers, artists, scientists, attorneys — and pastors? The answer, of course, is that we can’t.
I know that many of you are greatly — and rightly — concerned about the recent shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a young man whose future has been lost to the ages.
As most of you know, three weeks ago, the Department of Justice launched an investigation into this incident, which remains open at this time — and prevents me from talking in detail about this matter. However, I can tell you that, in recent weeks, Justice Department officials — including Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Tom Perez, and United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Robert O’Neill — have traveled to Sanford, Florida, to meet with the Martin family, the community, and local authorities. The FBI is assisting local law enforcement officials. And representatives from the Community Relations Service — the Justice Department’s “peacemakers” — are continuing to meet with civil rights leaders, law enforcement officers, and area residents to address — and to help alleviate — community tensions. We’re also communicating closely with local, state, and federal representatives and officials.
In all of these discussions, we’re listening carefully to concerns — and emphasizing that the Department will conduct a thorough and independent review of the evidence.
Although I cannot share where current efforts will lead us from here, I can assure you that, in this investigation — and in all cases — we will examine the facts and the law. If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action. And, at every step, the facts and the law will guide us forward.