If there’s racial violence following the George Zimmerman verdict, will it bear Department of Justice fingerprints? According to public advocacy group Judicial Watch, the answer is yes.
At issue are the actions of the DOJ’s “Community Relations Service” (CRS), a little-known branch of the department whose operatives were initially sent to Sanford, Florida, in the wake of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting incident. The CRS’ ostensible mission is to engage in “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution.” Based on documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, however, Judicial Watch (JW) claims that the CRS agitated on behalf of anti-Zimmerman forces. The documents reveal the following, reports JW:
• 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.”
• 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.”
• March 30 – April 1, 2012, CRS spent $892.55 in Sanford, FL “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida.”
• 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.”
• 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 amount of money spent is small, but what was the effect? This may be hard to gauge with precision, as the law requires CRS operatives to hold their counsel in confidence, but JW also tells us:
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