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George Zimmerman Trial: Did the DOJ Hold Anti-Zimmerman Rallies?

Recent documents reveal that a unit of the Department of Justice paid thousands of dollars to host multiple anti-George Zimmerman rallies in Sanford, Florida. In the days after the shooting occurred, the DOJ deployed its Community Relations Services (CRS) unit into Martin's town. 

Now, don't be alarmed. This is no Snowden-esque leak. On the CRS website the unit defines its mission as being the "peacemaker for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin." It was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So, CRS was doing its job. It just so happened that the Trayvon Martin case became high-profile. Their rallies were nothing out of the ordinary though. 

Justice Watch, a site dedicated to investigating political figures and litigation, filed a Freedom of Information Act with the DOJ in order to obtain the following information. 

According to their analysis of the documents, CRS held Trayvon Martin rallies on the following dates:

1. On March 25 – 27, 2012, CRS spent $674.14 upon being “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.”

2. On March 25 – 28, 2012, CRS spent $1,142.84 “in Sanford, FL to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.

3. On March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”

4. On March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent an additional $751.60 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.”

5. On April 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”

6. On April 11 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $552.35 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male.”

The Justice Watch website even links to specific documents as evidence of their claims.

To be honest, it is nice to be reminded that at some point people were advocating for Trayvon. Now America has slipped into a sad disillusionment, I think. I've been watching Zimmerman's mess of a trial since it began. Closing arguments are this Thursday and most believe the prosecution did not make a strong enough case to convict Zimmerman on second-degree murder. (Or manslaughter even — its newest charge.) It's true. And what a shame that is. Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin, got into a fight that he could not handle, and then "fearing for his life," shot the 17-year-old boy in cold blood. 

The DOJ's CRS unit spent a few thousand dollars on a case America would eventually lose. But they were rallying for Trayvon's justice, right? I guess I can find solace in that. 

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