Eric Holder Comments on George Zimmerman Verdict

The attorney general addresses the acquittal of the man who shot Trayvon Martin.
10:08 | 07/15/13

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Transcript for Eric Holder Comments on George Zimmerman Verdict
This is a special report from ABC news. Afternoon -- Thank you secretary Herman for those very kind words and thank you all for such date they -- well. It's a privilege to join all of you president Butler -- MacIntyre. National social action co -- Watkins Lattimore and Boyd national first vice president walker and every member. -- -- executive committee and executive board. In celebrating delta sigma state is Centennial year. Here in our nation's capital and not far from the campus where this sorority. Was founded. But as -- hard. It's even even greater privilege for me. Delta -- -- Sharon Malone. She made me say that. But thank you all for inviting me take part in your 51 annual convention. As we come together to congratulate this year's award recipients. To reflect on a century of engagement and empowerment. And to strengthen the robust tradition of service scholarship. And principals social action -- has always defined. This remarkable sisterhood. Now of course says this celebration unfolds we are also mindful of of the pain. Felt by our nations surrounding the tragic. And necessary shooting death. Of trade on Martin in Sanford Florida last year. And we are cognizant of the fact that the state trial reached its conclusion over the weekend. As parents. As engaged citizens. And as leaders who stand vigilant against violence in communities across the country. The Delta's are deeply. And rightly concerned about this case. The Justice Department shares your concern. I share your concern. And gasoline. First acknowledged last spring. We have opened an investigation. Into this matter. Dependent of the legal determination that will be made. I believe that this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak. Honestly -- About the complicated. An emotionally charged issues that this case has raised. We must not. As we have too often in the past let this opportunity pass. I hope that we will approach. This is necessarily difficult dialogue with the same dignity that -- who have lost the most Fremont parents. That they have demonstrated throughout the last year and especially over the past few days. They suffered a pain that no parent should have to endure and one -- -- as a father cannot begin to concede. Even as we embrace their example and hold them in our prayers. We must not -- this opportunity to better understand one another and to make better this nation that we cherish. Moreover. I want to assure you that the department will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law. We are committed to standing with the people of Sanford. With the individuals and families affected by this incident. -- -- our state and local partners local partners in order to alleviate tensions to address community concerns and to promote healing. We are determined to meet division and confusion with understanding and compassion and also with truth. We are resolved. As you -- to combat violence involving -- directed at young people to prevent future tragedies. And to deal with the underlying attitudes. Mistaken beliefs. And stereotypes. That serve as the basis for these two common -- -- And we will never stop working to ensure that in every case. In every circumstance and in every community. Just this must be done. This. This is -- -- we -- proud to share with everyone in this room. In with all who have contributed to the culture of excellence that has been -- organizations hallmark of the last century. In the decades since delta sigma -- was founded in 1913 by 22 ambitious and -- General Eric Holder speaking at a social justice luncheon thing when -- delta sigma Theta sorority. And the attorney general announcing that -- he has spoken of the possibility pursuing federal civil rights charges against. -- -- Martin's killer George Zimmermann. This a less than 36 hours after Zimmerman was acquitted in shooting death. I want to bring an ABC news political editor Rick Klein -- to discuss the announcement that the attorney general -- from that. Rick strictly from a legal standpoint what -- the Justice Department need in order to prove. To convict on civil rights charges. They need a lot the bar is very high effort to to bring charges they need to be able to prove. And establish that it did the attack happened primarily on the basis of race that racial motivations. Was at the heart of what George Zimmerman did we know that the criminal case did not prove that we know that there was reasonable doubt come by the jury to standard. Her conviction in this would be somewhat low -- the standard for bringing a case somewhat higher because we're talking about a private citizen here because we're talking about nebulous fact it is a very difficult standard to establish. And as attorney general -- mention a federal investigation has been over for quite some time expect it was shortly there after the shooting took place back in February. What are the political ramifications of this audience back to bring charges in a case -- this. And for whatever reason fortunately unfortunately whatever the value judgment you want this -- become politically polarized it is viewed. Story political -- we've seen in in the outrage in the reaction. For so many on the left particularly minority groups real anger at what the jury did and on the right. The justice some right wing commentators. Going out there -- -- tweeting hallelujah and -- saying that on her Twitter feed the other night. So this did split down it down pretty traditional partisan lines not purely political that viewed through that -- And therefore anything -- the Obama administration does on this one way or the other is going to be viewed the same way he later on top of that the fact that President Obama. The first African American president he's got a history of making statements in. Racially charged -- events that show you that he's cognizant. Of the fact that he has that role that he is. Not just the leader of the nation but also the most prominent black leader in the nation and therefore his Justice Department comes under a lot of pressure on this from traditional allies to go ahead and pursue these charges way it is a legal standard here that he's gonna have to live and the president himself after the tragedy had said that that son -- on -- -- been his son. Certainly -- and weighing in on that so many people work. At a time. Isn't sacks the attorney general were pursue charges where would they bring the case and if it were to go to trial where where that happened. Unclear at this stage David for probably originated here in Washington I'm not clear exactly on -- the logistics would be of of where the case what happened what level federal court. It would take it would depend particularly on the charges and and how they pursue this. But there are a lot of those logistical issues due to be worked out -- -- so -- evidence that was produced in the course of this investigation. Now with -- the federal prosecutors federal investigators not to take a look at all of that and parsed through its it was a making this year's or anything else we should be. Proceeding with because it is rather unusual -- -- after a private sit. Charges -- On state criminal charges are -- advocate groups that are pushing this primarily. Very much the NAACP well -- coincidence having its annual meeting in Florida at the same time it this is all happens in just in these a couple of days. Pushing very hard as is the ACLU. They are even have an online petition right now going on whitehouse dot gov where. I think get more than 100000 signatories it forces a White House response they'll be funny White House response is regardless. But yes there are many of formal and informal people that are lobbying right now to have the the federal government take this up not just investigated but actually bring charges against George -- not to look strictly at the political viewpoint -- this but what has the reaction Manama on Capitol Hill so far. We've heard from a lot of prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus and they feel like -- did justice was not served here. That there is something larger going on we've also heard. A lot of people echo what the attorney general just said about needing to have more of a national conversation and dialogue around race we hear that so many times that it's easy just kind of tune that out at this stage but. Clearly this is the kind of news story that kind of event tragic event. It's being viewed very differently based on socio economics on demographics on race on your background. And I think there's a sense on Capitol Hill among lawmakers who represent these communities you want to make sure that this -- -- forgotten that no one should be thinking. In -- in any sense about just this ending with what happened on Saturday night with a verdict you still haven't a young African American man who was killed. And obviously there's no way to justify that so obviously now. That did big interest is in trying to pursue what kind of federal charges you can. And to just make sure that this moment of national. Kind of anger and introspection doesn't mean -- doesn't become violent but also doesn't become lost in intervening events. Astros and the attorney general when it to emphasize statement today ABC's political director Rick pirates Jacki for that. Again the attorney general Eric Holder has not yet decided whether to pursue federal charges against -- government -- -- was acquitted in the shooting death that trade on -- We have a full write up on For now I'm Dan Butler New York with its ABC news special report that he said he'll. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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