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Clergy, civil rights groups in Detroit say they're not done fighting for Trayvon Martin

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Civil rights activists say they’re not done trying to get justice for Trayvon Martin.

They have actions planned in Detroit and around the country to push for federal intervention in the Florida teen’s case.

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, a black, unarmed teenager, in 2012.

Zimmerman’s acquittal this past weekend has sparked national outrage—and questions about persistent racial inequities in the justice system.

In Detroit, civil rights groups and clergy say federal law enforcement should step in because the state judicial system failed.

Imam Dawud Walid says race was clearly a motivating factor in Martin’s killing—but that evidence wasn’t considered in Zimmerman’s trial.

“We have federal civil rights laws because the federal government needs at times to check states rights, or state misbehavior,” Walid says.

The US Justice Department is investigating Martin’s murder as a possible hate crime.  Federal authorities could take on the case if it’s deemed a hate crime motivated by “racial animus.”

Reverend Charles Williams II heads the Detroit chapter of the National Action Network. He says he’s confident federal leaders will take action on the Martin case because it “touches the hearts of people in power.”

“Remember, President Obama himself came out and said that if he had a son, it would look like Trayvon. So he even understands--let me be honest with you--what it means to be a black man in America,” says Williams. “Eric Holderunderstands that, too.”

Activists will gather at federal buildings in Detroit and across the country this Saturday to build pressure for a federal prosecution.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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