While the country reacts to the jury verdict acquitting George Zimmerman on charges related to the death of teenager Trayvon Martin, one local Democratic lawmaker is publicly voicing his disappointment with the decision. Taking to Twitter, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland called on his supporters to turn their pain into passion and their passion into purpose, following the verdict. David Hawkings of the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call talks about how Zimmerman's acquittal is reverberating on Capitol Hill.
On what kind of action lawmakers, such as Rep. Cummings like to see following the Trayvon Martin case:
"He and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus all had the same message on Sunday, which was that the Justice Department should reopen the investigation that it did do before the Florida prosecutors took over to see if they might prosecute George Zimmerman for an alleged hate crime. The Justice Department yesterday said they were going to do that."
On why Cummings is so vocal on this issue:
"Mr. Cummings, in addition to being one of the deans in the Maryland delegation and one of the deans in the Congressional Black Caucus, is the only member of Congress who has lost an immediate member of his family due to gun violence."
On where the Justice Department might go with this case:
"There are a few hate crime statutes on the books. They can't re-prosecute him [Zimmerman] for the killing. But what they could prosecute him for is they could prove his actions were motivated by his hatred for black people. It's a very high legal standard -- probably tougher than proving he didn't act in self-defense."
On Cummings pushing back against an Inspector General report finding that IRS employees targeted conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status:
"This is sort of Mr. Cummings big rise to prominence among House Democrats this year. He's the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Cummings has been sort of dogged since this began in saying there's more to this than the press and the public are saying."