Eric Holder Inflames Conservatives in Zimmerman Trial Aftermath
Around the State
Already disliked by conservatives, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is fielding a barrage of fire from the right because of remarks he made and stance he's taken after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Last week Holder addressed the NAACP’s national convention in Orlando. During his speech, he said he was “concerned about this case” and would continue a federal investigation of the matter.
He also used the address to attack Stand Your Ground, an initiative begun in Florida in 2005 and adopted in some form by 30 other states.
Holder questioned the need for Stand Your Ground laws like the one in Florida.
“... We must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common-sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely,” he said. “By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.
“As we move forward together, I want to assure you that the Department will continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law,” Holder insisted. “We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that – in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community – justice must be done.”
Holder raised the stakes later in the week. Reports came out late Thursday that the federal Department of Justice ordered the Sanford Police Department to hold all evidence pertaining to the Zimmerman trial, including the gun involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to turn up the heat on Holder. The American Conservative Union (ACU) announced this week it will be launching a campaign to impeach Holder and cited his actions in the Zimmerman case as one of the reasons.
Gregg Keller of the ACU sent out a message to supporters on Thursday announcing the new effort to remove Holder.
“Just days after a jury of his peers found George Zimmerman not guilty, Eric Holder was on the phone with far-left groups like the ACLU and NAACP, scheming to bring trumped-up hate crime charges against him,” Keller wrote. “This abuse of law is nothing new for Holder. And unless we stop it, he will continue to use his office to target innocent Americans.”
Keller announced the ACU would be launching the “Impeach Eric Holder” campaign.
“Attorney General Holder is supposed to be our nation's top law enforcement officer, but he's repeatedly thrown the law away for political reasons,” Keller wrote. Keller noted Holder’s role in seizing records of a Fox News reporter, suing Arizona over its immigration law, standing in the way of state voter ID laws and covering [up] facts related to Operation Fast and Furious in which a border patrol agent was killed.
“We need to get rid of Holder as attorney general,” Keller insisted.
The ACU will be gathering petitions demanding Holder’s impeachment and will be launching a new website and a social media campaign to further the efforts. Keller expressed little hope that Holder would be removed by Congress but added he believes President Barack Obama could bow to political pressure and fire him.
In the aftermath of the Zimmerman decision, former Congressman Allen West is taking aim at Holder’s criticism of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Despite losing his congressional seat in 2012, West, a favorite of the tea party movement, has opened the door to a political comeback in 2016.
“In a sure case of foot-in-mouth disease, seems U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking in Florida, may want to study up on Stand Your Ground use in the Sunshine State, my home,” West posted on Facebook on Thursday morning. “Based on data maintained by Tampa Bay Times, approximately one-third of Florida Stand Your Ground claims in fatal cases have been made by black defendants, as a defense with a 55 percent success rate. Blacks used Stand Your Ground defenses at nearly twice the rate of their percentage of Florida's population (16.6 percent in 2012). As well, it seems the majority of victims in Florida Stand Your Ground cases have been white.”
West ended his post with a direct shot at Holder.
“Either Attorney General Holder is incompetent or ignorant; regardless, we all await his clarification, or correction, of his comments before the NAACP in Orlando,” West wrote.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 904- 521-3722.