Local attorney: Civil rights charges would be difficult - FOX 13 News

Local attorney: Civil rights charges against Zimmerman would be difficult

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ATLANTA -

A local expert says that it will be difficult to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was acquitted in charges in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Attorney and author Lance LoRusso who wrote When Cops Kill: The Aftermath of a Critical Incident, said that for the jury, the case came down to self-defense.

"The critical analysis in use of deadly force, whether it's a law enforcement officer or civilian, is why did they start shooting and why did they stop shooting and he had a credible answer that he raised as to why: that he thought he was being threatened," said LoRusso.

Hours after the jury's verdict, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will consider federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, but LoRusso believes Zimmerman wasn't carrying out a hate crime. In his opinion, Zimmerman acted based on his recent experience as a neighborhood watchman.

"We can sit and say that he rushed to judgment, that he jumped the gun in calling 911, but that is a reasonable thing for him to say, unfortunately, if the previous perpetrators were young African-American males, you really have to say, ‘Well, I can understand him calling the police,'" said LoRusso.

LoRusso says the case is an unfortunate tragedy involving two people in the wrong place at the wrong time. He credits police agencies and community leaders across the country for the peaceful demonstrations following Saturday's controversial verdict.

"That's a lot of work that gets done every day behind the scenes by law enforcement reaching out in their communities and that's what leads to peaceful protest and hopefully some good will come out of those," LoRusso.

LoRusso says in this case, the Justice Department should yield to the Florida jury. He instead encourages further peaceful dialogue.

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