ACLU Reverses Pursuit of Zimmerman

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The American Civil Liberties Union, stung by the backlash to its initial reaction to the George Zimmerman acquittal, has reversed its position on whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) should continue its post-acquittal pursuit of Zimmerman. The day after the acquittal, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero released a statement that endorsed the furthering of the DOJ’s hunt against Zimmerman, saying:

Last night’s verdict casts serious doubt on whether the legal system truly provides equal protection of the laws to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity. This case reminds us that it is imperative that the Department of Justice thoroughly examine whether the Martin shooting was a federal civil rights violation or hate crime.

The statement also advocated additional federal guidance for law enforcement by using race and new legislation to stop racial profiling.

But the focus on civil rights flew in the face of the ACLU’s traditional position on guarding civil rights. In 1993, after the Rodney King incident, the ACLU adopted a policy that stated, “There should be no exception to double jeopardy principles simply because the same offense may be prosecuted by two different sovereigns.”

King had been beaten by L.A. police officers in 1992, and after they were acquitted, the ACLU was riven by a schism between those who believed the officers should be tried for violating civil rights and those who believed that the double jeopardy policy should preclude doing so. At first, the pro-civil rights group won, but a year later those who eschewed pursuing a second trial reversed the policy to ensure there would be no double jeopardy. At the time, the New York Times said the ACLU was “torn by internal disagreement,” and the Boston Globe said the organization was “twisting itself up in knots.”

After Romero’s statement went public and the subsequent backlash, ACLU Washington Office Director Laura Murphy wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday:

We are writing to clearly state the ACLU’s position on whether or not the Department of Justice (DOJ) should consider bringing federal civil rights or hate crimes charges as a result of the state court acquittal in the George Zimmerman case. The ACLU believes the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution protects someone from being prosecuted in another court for charges arising from the same transaction. A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the end of the criminal case.

Romero suddenly had a quite different position on the matter, telling POLITICO:

I think there are real serious concerns about going back on the double jeopardy policy. It is a slippery slope that if you allow the government to prosecute individuals for one crime and then fail and try again, it creates the wrong incentives for the criminal justice system. Good civil libertarians will differ on this issue, like lot of our issues that divide the membership or the leadership, whether it’s campaign finance or whether it’s civil rights prosecutions after a failed trial. The unique part of the ACLU is that we have to balance some of the concerns that we have that are longstanding deep seated values like racial justice against broader concerns about the administration of justice . . .

But Ira Glasser, the executive director of the ACLU from 1978 to 2001, was irritated at the organization’s knee-jerk response to the verdict. He said Romero’s letter indicated “the transformation of the ACLU from a civil liberties organization to a liberal bandwagon organization.” He added:
It’s just astonishing to me that a statement like that could go out without any understanding that they were violating their own policy. The ACLU’s almost unique mission is to stand against the tide of turning Zimmerman and the verdict into the opportunity to be a symbol of everything that’s wrong with race and our criminal justice system in our country. No only didn’t they stand against the tide, they increased the tide. I was very unhappy with it.

Former ACLU board member Michael Meyers, who is black, echoed Glasser, saying:
The ACLU is out of line; a civil liberties organization is concerned with the accused getting a fair trial, which includes the right of effective counsel, due process, and protection against double jeopardy. No government, much less an angry community, is entitled to a verdict to their liking . . . The ACLU is not the NAACP; the ACLU is the guardian of individual liberty, not a victims’ rights or racial grievance group.

Other critics note that Romero’s statement was not the only evidence of the organization coloring the Trayvon Martin death as racial profiling; they pointed to posts on the ACLU site that were titled “Justice for Trayvon.”

Ironically, the Supreme Court has stated repeatedly that simultaneous or successive prosecutions by either the federal government or the state government do not violate the portion of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution dealing with double jeopardy, but the ACLU has challenged that position.
The ACLU’s instinctive response to the Zimmerman acquittal notwithstanding, Romero insisted that the ACLU is not a mouthpiece for liberal interest groups, saying, “We’ve often had different points of view with our Planned Parenthood colleagues…We’ve had clashes with gay rights groups. It’s part of what makes the ACLU such a distinct player in these fields.”

Read more at Breitbart.com

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  • Kristopher Schindler

    Did Hell just freeze over???

    • jellis

      No. ACLU just likes to cover its a__ … er … bases.

  • RJT19712

    WOW!!! who would’ve thunk it!!! The ACLU makes a quick call based on popular opinion instead of waiting and seeing what would happen to Zimmerman if the DOJ tried to file civil rights charges violating Zimmerman’s civil rights to re-try him!

    • Liberty1776

      thing is they realized that if DOJ put him back on trial and reverse the ruling, this would totally change everything for everyone even blacks. Obama would have ,played hell without the double jeopardy, just imagine the consequences, and how Obuttwad could have used it , they put their foot in their mouth but at least they had the sense to save themselves

  • gatorbait88

    I guess that’s what happens when commies infiltrate secured thinking groups like the ACLU.They seem to turn at every current groups whim instead of following justice for all.Although they changed their position on this case,I wouldn’t trust them no more than a Cobra.From gay lifestyle being forced down our throat to the sanction of murdering babies,to the complete destruction of Christianity,the embracement of Islam,..etc…the list goes on and on….I guess spending others money has no bounds.

  • carrita

    why don’t you boys find something profitable to do – the trial was held, a verdict was rendered and life goes on – these riots don’t solve anything – don’t sue – after all blacks kill white or vise versa all the time – this case has been blown completely out of proportion – you all need to get a job and mind your own business instead of sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. aclu – get a life!

    • jerome h.

      They can’t handle that, because they didn’t get their way. It’s like raising a spoiled child…give them everything they want without having to work hard for it (Affirmative Action)…then, when they don’t get their way, they’ll throw tantrums. (riot)

  • foxxybey

    I can’t stand the ACLU the American Commie Legal Union, they suck and always have but I’m shocked they can see the fault of the DOJ to going after a guy when he was found innocent, even a bad organization can get it right once in awhile? I guess?

    • ToniStimmel

      I feel the same way about the American Communist Liberal Union but before I congratulate them for getting it right this time, I want to know how much of that soul searching and reversal of position was due to a contrary reaction from their major contributors. When survival or financial comfort are at stake, all things are possible with communists and liberals.

      • foxxybey

        Wow great statement, you sure could be right, I just wish this commie outfit would go away period, God Bless Friend: oops think I just step on the ACLU toe’s, I hope, LOL

        • DE Navarro

          The ACLU may have a lot of Hispanic support too.

  • I just wonder what the ALCU is saving their money up for. This organization has never done any one any good except for themselves.

  • sanchezmikea

    Yeah, I would say the only thing that clashed was gay colors!

  • DE Navarro

    Yeah, whatever happened to Zimmerman’s Civil Liberties? If you are the American Civil Liberties Union, you have an incredible opportunity to step in here on a Hispanic minority being willfully prejudiced against.

    Zimmerman is the recipient of the racist hatred here. Zimmerman was called the “crazy a – – cracker” by Trayvon. Zimmerman has black family members he grew up with as a child. Zimmerman’s business partner is black — together they opened an insurance agency as a partnership. When the white son of a Sanford police officer attacked a black homeless man, it was Zimmerman who spearheaded an extended voluntary campaign that finally ended in the black man getting justice when they arrested the police officer’s son. Zimmerman was active in a program where he voluntarily mentored black youth. Zimmerman campaigned and voted for Obama.

    Zimmerman’s life tells the story — he loves blacks and has advocated for the black community freely. He’s not the racist here. Those who disallowed his background as evidence of his character are the racists. Those who used the race card against him and demonized him in the media are the racists. Those who said “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon” are the racists. The DOJ are the racists. The prosecutors and judge in the case are the racists.

    The clear victim of racial hatred here is Zimmerman.

    So what are you going to do about it ACLU? Do you have any guts?

    • jerome h.

      So all that there breaks down to one statement….He’s racist! Right? That has to be what you’re trying to say.

      • DE Navarro

        I said what I said. Read it again:

        “He’s [Zimmerman] not the racist here. Those who disallowed his background as evidence of his character are the racists. Those who used the race card against him and demonized him in the media are the racists. Those who said “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon” are the racists. The DOJ are the racists. The prosecutors and judge in the case are the racists.”

        Do I need to spell something differently for you?

        Seriously, who is the “he” in your response?

        • jerome h.

          It was a tongue-in-cheek comment based on how these people, crying about justice, disregard the facts to continue crying foul.

          • DE Navarro

            So you were being funny, eh? Sorry I missed that. I get the sarcasm now.

  • Shawn O’Loughlin

    The American Communist Liberal’s Union decided to back off of something? They must foresee a drop in contributions if they continue their erroneous racial injustice witch hunt.

    • jerome h.

      Of course it would drop, if they went in favor of “Justice for Trayvon,” then the majority of their donations would be paid in foodstamps and WIC checks.

      • Shawn O’Loughlin


  • Don August

    This smacks of the ACLU giving some “cover” to Holder’s Department of (in)Justice when he makes the announcement that there will be NO further federal prosecution of this case. He will claim that he gave “serious consideration” to the announcement of the ALCU and “after much consideration”, agreed with their position! You heard it here first!

  • Bill M

    ACLU have turned into a bunch of Cowards. Obama Zombies.

  • LetsJustVoidTheBillOfRights

    As always…For-Profit SLIME. SCUM OF THE EARTH. Nothing more.

  • fcsuszka

    Oh my the ACLU is showing it’s true colors. How nice is that. LOL Isn’t it funny how all of this plays out. I’m surprised Gloria allred didn’t jump out there for the Martin parents. She likes to get her fancy pants and buttinsky self out there and in your face when she can the glory clown. If the race baiting people would stop maybe all would be right. But then again even if it was, the schwartza’s would be out there burning down the city anyway. Do they need a reason? Do the people who live in other cities care about what happens in you city when they come to town in incite riots?

  • Aristophanes

    Finally. The aclu is coming out of the closet and admitting it is a liberal bandwagon organization. Finally showing it’s true leanings.

  • eyeball

    Did Zimmerman REALLY KNOW Mr. Martin was a black person? His hoodie was pulled over his head, yielding nothing but shadow. And WHY doesn’t the president cry and howl about the vicious murders blacks commit against Whites? Shooting a BABY in a carriage in the head!? Four black thugs forcing a White man into traffic so that he is struck by a vehicle and killed!? And on and on… If Zimmerman intended to kill Mr. Martin, he would have had his weapon drawn, aimed and chambered, RIGHT!? I repeatedly say “Mr. Martin” to draw attention to the FACT that Tra-tra was NOT a little kid as the limperals WANT us to swallow. He was, as Rev Patterson so clearly proved to Morgan Puss on TV, a THUG. A six-foot-three THUG, in the wrong neighborhood, late a night, with questionable intentions. He also could have said, “I’m just going to my FATHER’s house, and I’ll be off the street when I get there.” How do we know, Zimmerman actually might have been considering the safety of this person, being out alone in that place where several burglaries had recently taken place. It’s probably a good idea that the ACLU is backing off on this, because the Holder gang will just get more crap on their faces if they pursue it. Heck, Eric already has to try to breath through a 5-foot tube, he’s so deep in it. He needs to be tarred, feathered and run out of the COUNTRY on a rail, right after obammah, reid, biden, pelosi, boxer, and carney, and shankton. (I’m sure I missed a bunch.)

  • Raymond – Jesus is Lord.

    I suspect this is Travon Martin’s new home.


  • Chief47

    The ACLU is a communistic organization that cares nothing but getting it’s name in the headlines. It’s a shame that Joe McCarthy isn’t still around. The name of their organization is disgraced by the people who run it on a daily basis. We need to abolish the ACLU along with the IRS.

  • Sagebrush6

    The ACLU is happy with any verdic that goes their way.

  • Kent2012

    it sure is great to see another organization jump on the kenyan boy cheer leading squad……not surprising considering their communist background……..

  • Jed54

    Not ain’t… it’s taint …Like what be the s**t is……

  • Mike Warren

    The ACLU takes its direction from Obama-Soetoro. Zimmerman is a Hispanic/Black/Caucasian and they want to go after just the white part.

  • pysco

    ACLU has no specific claim or right, than any other citizen has……………………….

  • violater1

    fornicate all of you racist IT’SOVER!!!

  • WildBill51

    ACLU figured out it can’t use Zimmerman acquittal for a membership or fundraising drive. They switched position to see if that works.