NAACP President Ben Jealous told CNN's Candy Crowley that his team has been in contact with the Attorney General's office, but he doesn't expect the Justice Department to act until the end of the any civil suits that result from George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict. "If this moves to a civil case, they will review everything that comes out in that and then they will make a choice about whether or not they will pursue criminal civil rights charges. We are calling on them to do just that," Jealous said on CNN's State of the Union. Jealous said he was "outraged" and "heartbroken" over the verdict. But, ultimately, Jealous believes the Justice Department will be able to make a case for civil rights charges. "When you look at (Zimmerman’s) comments…there is reason to be concerned race was a factor," he said.
On Fox New Sunday, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, Darryl Parks, wouldn't explicitly say whether the family supports the NAACP seeking federal civil rights charges from the Justice Department. "The beauty of our country is that we have several tiers of government, several aspects of laws and that different times different aspects apply," Parks said. "Different laws apply at different times, different places apply at different times. That would be a different arena."
Meanwhile, some elected officials were crowing on the Sunday shows about how George Zimmerman never should have been prosecuted in the first place. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King blamed the Justice Department and President for politicizing the case on Fox News Sunday. "The evidence didn't support prosecution, and the Justice Department engaged in this. The president engaged in this and turned it into a political issue that should have been handled exclusively with law and order," he said. King also contended that the case was "turned into a race issue by the media." Really smart take, Steve, thanks for sharing.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said he was confidant a civil rights case would emerge eventually from the DOJ during his appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. Sharpton said that "clearly there are grounds for civil rights charges" in the Zimmerman case, and that he and the Martin family already met with U.S. attorneys. "The trial happened. The verdict came in. It does not exhaust the legal options of this family and the bigger community issues of civil rights," he said. "We now have a position on the books in the state of Florida where an unarmed teenager who committed no crime can be killed and the killer can say self defense." Sharpton warned that the implications of this verdict should scare all parents, not just black ones. "Every American ought to be afraid that my child can do nothing wrong and can be killed," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid briefly weighed in on the Zimmerman verdict during his Meet the Press appearance "I think the Justice Department's going to take a look at this. This isn't over with, and I think that's good, it's our system. It's gotten better, not worse," he said. But he was there mostly to call out Speaker of the House John Boehner for not letting the bipartisan Senate immigration bill be voted on in the House. "They will act. They have to," Reid said. "This is something that the vast, vast majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents support, and John Boehner should let the House vote. That's all he has to do. If the House voted, it would pass overwhelmingly." Reid also responded to some recent criticism the bill was facing from right-wing thought leaders who were urging Boehner to kill the bill. "We have the Chamber of Commerce, conservative groups all over America running ads telling Republicans, vote for this," Reid said. "This is a good bill. It gives us security on our border, and it gives people who are here a pathway to citizenship…It saves the country a trillion dollars. It's good for the economy. Not a billion. Not a million. A trillion."
But that's not enough for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks the bipartisan bill drafted without his support lacks the border security heft to really pass. Also appearing on Meet the Press, McConnell said that no one is satisfied with immigration right now, but the bill drafted by the Gang of Eight and passed in the Senate still needs work. "I'm a big fan of what legal immigration has done for our country," McConnell said. "I hope, even though the Senate bill in my view is deficient on the issue of border security, I hope we can get an outcome for the country that improves the current situation. I don't think any body is satisfied with the status quo on immigration." Again, he says it all comes down to what the House can do on border security. "I think the stickiest issue actually is the border security. The question is can we actually get the border secure and not have this happen again. That's the stickiest issue," he said. "…I think that's key to getting a final outcome."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS's Face the Nation that Iran's nuclear progress is a greater concern in his region that Egypt or Syria. Netanyahu said Iran's new president is a "a wolf in sheep's clothing," who will not be the nuclear moderate some have hoped for. "All the problems that we have, however important, will be dwarfed by this messianic, apocalyptic, extreme regime that would have atomic bombs," Netanyahu told host Bob Schieffer. When Schieffer asked how close Iran could be to crafting a nuclear bomb, Netanyahu could cite offer their progress making the type of uranium used in nuclear bombs. He didn't have a specific timeline. "They have now-- about 190 kilos out of the 250 kilos of 20 percent enriched uranium," he said. "They had-- six, seven months-- eight months ago about 110 kilos." Netanyahu also disclosed that Israel would not be as patient with Iran as the U.S. "We'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does," he said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.