Feds take evidence related to Zimmerman trial, including gun

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The Justice Department is considering whether to pursue a civil rights case

George Zimmerman was acquitted in last year's shooting death of Trayvon Martin

Civil rights groups have demanded federal charges against Zimmerman.

CNN  — 

The Department of Justice has asked the Sanford, Florida, police department to hold all evidence related to the George Zimmerman case, Sanford Capt. Jim McAuliffe said Thursday.

The Sanford Police Department said it turned over all evidence, including a gun, to the Department of Justice on Monday.

Justice officials are investigating whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights when he shot the African-American teenager.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted over the weekend in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

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Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department will “act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law.” Holder described Martin’s shooting as ” tragic, unnecessary,” and said a thorough investigation will be conducted.

“Independent 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 and emotionally charged issues that this case has raised,” Holder said. “We must not – as we have too often in the past – let this opportunity pass.”

Justice officials opened an investigation into the Zimmerman case last year and will include testimony from the Florida trial.

Various civil rights groups have protested nationwide to demand the Justice Department bring federal charges against Zimmerman.

A petition by the NAACP has reached 1.5 million signatures, the civil rights organization said on its website.

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