WASHINGTON, (UPI) — George Zimmerman, cleared of murder charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., will get his handgun back, his lawyer says.
Attorney Mark O’Mara told ABC News Sunday Zimmerman, 29, is entitled to the return of his Kel Tec 9 pistol and likely may have greater need for it now that he’s been acquitted in the 17-year-old’s death Saturday.
“There are a lot of people out there who actually hate him, though they shouldn’t,” O’Mara said.
O’Mara acknowledged the likely possibility of Martin’s family filing a civil suit against Zimmerman, but said Zimmerman might file one of his own.
The U.S. Justice Department said it is reconsidering the filing of hate-crime charges against Zimmerman.
“Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction,” the department said in a statement.
Groups, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to press a federal civil-rights case against Zimmerman after a six-woman jury found the former neighborhood-watch captain not guilty of murder or manslaughter, accepting his claim he acted in self-defense.
The department has had an open investigation into Martin’s Feb. 26, 2012, death since shortly after the shooting, put on hold while the criminal trial was under way.
The NAACP launched a petition late Saturday asking the Justice Department file civil rights charges against Zimmerman. The petition received such a massive response that it crashed the NAACP website, The Washington Post reported.
Holder is expected to address the Zimmerman case Tuesday when he speaks to the NAACP in Orlando, 25 miles south of Sanford, an official told The Wall Street Journal.
The Saturday night verdict prompted street protests in cities across the country, including Sanford, New York, Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., and Los Angeles.
Nearly all were peaceful, but one of several protests in Los Angeles Sunday evening turned violent, with demonstrators throwing rocks and D-cell batteries at police, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police fired bean bag rounds and arrested at least one person, police said.
An earlier demonstration in Oakland resulted in some vandalism, police said.
President Obama Sunday called Martin’s death a “tragedy” and urged the country to “stem the tide of gun violence.”
He also appealed for calm amid “strong passions” the case elicited.
“We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son,” Obama said in a statement.