Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.
The family of George Zimmerman has stepped up its public defense, and one relative has sent a highly critical letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking why the Department of Justice has not arrested members of the New Black Panther Party movement. The group has publicly put out a bounty for Zimmerman's capture. In the letter, the family member says, "you have chosen not to arrest these individuals based solely on your race."
The letter was obtained by the Daily Caller,
a conservative website cofounded by political commentator Tucker Carlson. The Caller has been criticized in the past for publishing numerous articles critical of Trayvon Martin's character. The Caller has chosen not to release the name of the family member.
"I am writing you to ask you why, when the law of the land is crystal clear, is your office not arresting the New Black Panthers for hate crimes?" the family member wrote to Holder.
"The Zimmerman family is in hiding because of the threats that have been made against us, yet the DOJ has maintained an eerie silence on this matter. These threats are very public. If you haven't been paying attention just do a Google search and you will find plenty. Since when can a group of people in the United States put a bounty on someone's head, circulate Wanted posters publicly, and still be walking the streets?"
The letter then takes an oddly racial tone.
"Even though many feel that great strides have been made in race relations (we do have a black president), situations such as this make me wonder if this is indeed the case. There is the appearance of racism in every way this has been handled, and it is not coming from the supporters of George Zimmerman.
"It is unfortunate that the Martins have been used by the black community and the race-baiters to further the divides of racism, and not use the opportunity to unite the country. The chasm between blacks and whites deepens every time these groups show up to further their own cause."
The family members writes, "you have chosen not to arrest these individuals based solely on your race."
Riptide is fighting the itch to editorialize here. Instead we'll just point out that African-Americans make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population in America, so it's hard to argue that black people aren't getting arrested in this country because the attorney general is black.
It's also not so clear-cut that what the New Black Panther Party is doing is a hate crime since they are not targeting Zimmerman based on his race, but rather because he shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. We're also pretty sure that anyone with a familiarity with the history of racism in this country would not conclude that it is "the black community" that is "further[ing] the divides of racism."