From the Washington Post:
Federal authorities announced Monday night that they are opening a full-scale criminal investigation into the slaying of an unarmed black Florida teenager whose death provoked an outcry from African American leaders and sparked calls for gun-control reforms in Florida.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the FBI, planned to conduct an investigation into the death last month of Trayvon Martin and to work with local groups in the Orlando area to soothe rising tensions over the matter.
“The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident.”
Brace yourself for a chorus of backlash from the right wingers who will claim that the only reason the Feds are getting involved is because the victim is African-American and so is the president and the attorney general. Apparently the powers of the Justice Department are only supposed to be brought to bear on local cases when it really matters, like trying to keep a brain-dead white woman alive.
This also raises the question of Florida’s seven-year-old “stand your ground” law, which empowers citizens to blow away someone when they feel threatened, even if they’re not protecting their property. Knowing the way the Florida legislature thinks, this case won’t have any effect on modifying the law; in fact, it may even strengthen it because everyone knows that you just can’t take a chance that some other black kid with a bottle of iced tea and a bag of candy won’t terrorize a gated community in lily-white Sanford.