The Department of Justice (DOJ) is not charging George Zimmerman for 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old, Black unarmed Trayvon Martin.

The DOJ made the offical announcement on Teusday with prosecutors saying there is not enough evidence to charge Zimmerman for the killing.

What You Need to Know

  • DOJ is not charging George Zimmerman
  • Federal prosecutors say there isn’t enough evidence to suggest Zimmerman violate Martin’s civil rights
  • Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law including two incidents where he pulled guns on women
  • AG Eric Holder said evidence doesn’t meet requirements to call Martin’s death a hate crime

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a devastating tragedy,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “It shook an entire community, drew the attention of millions across the nation, and sparked a painful but necessary dialogue throughout the country. Though a comprehensive investigation found that the high standard for a federal hate crime prosecution cannot be met under the circumstances here, this young man’s premature death necessitates that we continue the dialogue and be unafraid of confronting the issues and tensions his passing brought to the surface. We, as a nation, must take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

The former neighborhood watchman was acquitted on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges by a jury in 2013 where prosecutors also said that a lack of evidence was a factor in the non-conviction. The public, however, has said race played a factor in the shooting.

Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, shot Martin in Sanford, Fla. while on Zimmerman was working a volunteer neighborhood watchman. Zimmerman confronted Martin under the impression that he was about to commit a robbery. Zimmerman fatally shot Martin after a scuffle. Martin was found with no weapon.

The shooting sparked international outrage with protests and demonstration in reaction to the shooting. The police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner soon followed igniting even more outrage.

Zimmerman’s case was opened by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who previously said that several witnesses and were going to be interviewed.

Since Zimmerman’s acquittal, he’s been arrested several times. He was recently arrested in January and charged with aggravated assault when he allegedly threw a wine bottle at his girlfriend. The charges were later dropped when the victim recanted her story.

In 2013, after his acquittal, Zimmerman was accused of pulling weapon on women in two separate incidents. Charges were dropped in both cases.