Judicial Watch FOIA docs show DoJ facilitated Zimmerman protests in Florida

posted at 2:41 pm on July 10, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Did the Department of Justice help generate protests in Florida over the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case?  Or did their Community Relations Service unit attempt to moderate their tone?  Judicial Watch discovered that the CRS spent some time and money participating in the protests in the spring of 2012, thanks to a trove of documents from a wide-ranging FOIA request:

JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested with the DOJ on April 24, 2012; 125 pages were received on May 30, 2012. JW administratively appealed the request on June 5, 2012, and received 222 pages more on March 6, 2013. According to the documents:

  • 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 3 – 12, 2012, CRS spent $1,307.40 in Sanford, FL “to provide technical assistance, conciliation, and onsite mediation during demonstrations planned in Sanford.”
  • 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.” – expenses for employees to travel, eat, sleep?

From a Florida Sunshine Law request filed on April 23, 2012, JW received thousands of pages of emails on April 27, 2012, in which was found an email by Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board Program Officer Amy Carswell from April 16, 2012: “Congratulations to our partners, Thomas Battles, Regional Director, and Mildred De Robles, Miami-Dade Coordinator and their co-workers at the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service for their outstanding and ongoing efforts to reduce tensions and build bridges of understanding and respect in Sanford, Florida” following a news article in the Orlando Sentinel about the secretive “peacekeepers.”

In reply to that message, Battles said: “Thank you Partner. You did lots of stuff behind the scene to make Miami a success. We will continue to work together.” He signed the email simply Tommy.

Carswell responded: “That’s why we make the big bucks.”

Some involvement of the CRS in the controversy had already been reported.  The Orlando Sentinel noted on April 15, 2012 that the agency had set up a meeting between the NAACP and the local police, which resulted in a temporary resignation of the police chief, Bill Lee.   The Sentinel also reported that the CRS had arranged for police escorts for protesters to make the 40-mile trek from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

The full extent of the CRS involvement in the protests, though, had not been known until now.  The question is what the CRS was doing.  If the DoJ was concerned that protests would get out of hand and turn violent, then mediation would have been a good choice. According to the descriptions, though, it appears that the CRS was more of a participant and organizer of the protests than a mediator of them.  The sums of money don’t appear that large, but March 25 through April 12 is almost three weeks worth of time and effort.

The Daily Caller asked the DoJ for comment, but the spokesperson didn’t have any information on the issue at the time. With the Zimmerman case going to the jury and a verdict certain to create controversy no matter how the jury rules, perhaps Congress should look into the DoJ’s actions to determine whether they were trying to calm the waters — or trying to bring them to a boil.

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The crux of that report was that the group was playing a role to actively prevent unrest and soothe racial tension. The Sentinel even used the headline: “DOJ ‘peacemakers’ helped Sanford stay cool amid rising tensions.”

‘We’re from the government and we are here to help’ – one of the most frightening things you can ever here.

As I pointed out, however, there is history in regards to the DOJ whistleblowers exposing Holder’s/the DOJ’s refusal to equally go after reverse discrimination cases as they did/do discrimination cases. There is also still the 2 troubling issues involving the DOJ stepping in to drop charges on the NBP members who were arrested for thratening voters at the polls in 2008 AND the DOJ’s refusal to press charges on the NBps for issuing a cross-state-line BOUNTY on Zimmerman.

If I am asked to give this administration the benefit of the doubt on anything these days, cosidering these things as well as all the other scandals the govt is involved in, I wouldn’t be able to give it to them. Sorry, you can’t say they have not given every reason to doubt them.

easyt65 on July 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Welcome to ONE PARTY rule in America…


Advocating in the courts for their crony political supporters causes.

Folks this is what the road to despotism looks like. Every day you see another road sign that warns us. The darkness is growing. History is coming. Tyranny awaits.

PappyD61 on July 11, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Times are becoming science fiction like, except not in a good way.

How is this constitutional? DOJ drumming up rallies?

billrowe on July 11, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I doubt the money includes salaries. Those numbers and their descriptions appear to involve travel expenses such as food, lodging, and transportation.

unclesmrgol on July 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

FACT: Zimmerman is an Afro-Latino American.

Will DOJ please order Al Sharpton to stop inciting Trayvon-vigilantees to target innocent white mothers and their toddlers for retaliatory attempted homicide?

Terp Mole on July 11, 2013 at 5:10 PM

According to the descriptions, though, it appears that the CRS was more of a participant and organizer of the protests than a mediator of them.


This was all about ginning up racial resentment to ensure that Obama would carry Florida in 2012.


AZCoyote on July 11, 2013 at 5:41 PM

So, this is what I noticed today- and since I only watch FOX, this pertains to their talking heads. For the last two weeks, all we’ve heard is that the prosecution has not made their case; That there is all kinds of reasonable doubt, that the prosecution witnesses were far more compelling for the defense than the prosecution. And that the judge was a biased, scary faced crone. (nah, I added that “fact”)

So today, after that Dr. Phil wannabe, prosecutor droned on for 2+ hours, the majority of the FOX commentators seemed to be ready to send G.Z to jail for 30 years. I watched his closing arguements, and I didn’t find him any more compelling than I had for the last 2 weeks. I got the distinct impression that FOX had VERY much softened their position of this case- it was kind of bizarre. Anyone else get this impression?

BettyRuth on July 11, 2013 at 7:24 PM

No bomb-throwing in this well-reasoned Coulter piece:

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2013 at 9:00 PM

George Zimmerman is going to jail for 20 years. And unlike Mumia Abu-Jamal…no one will state Zimmerman is a political prisoner…which will actually be true in this case.

Zimmerman never stood a chance. The Left *will* see him rot forever for his crime, as an example to all. And his crime is not murder, it is “Intolerance”. “Intolerance” will not be abided by The Left. You will agree with them…do as they say, think as they tell you…or you will pay.

You will all see the power of this administration soon…and still…nothing will change.

a5minmajor on July 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

Our government has become a great unruly dragon. Right now it just clumsily destroys as it goes about it’s “business”. Right now there are none strong enough or big enough to tame it and ride it, but the day is coming. On that fateful day the people will cheer that they and the country have saved. Alas that person who can ride the dragon will be a Napoleon or a Hitler or a Stalin, and the Republic will be just a subject in the history books. Already it has become more or less a fiction.

claudius on July 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Isn’t this a basis for a mistrial?

Also, the judge grilling Zimmerman and refusing him counsel might be also.

Akzed on July 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Holder: “I gots me a blood fever and needs to cap some more Mexicans!”

trl on July 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

This case’s decision pretty much determines whether or not this nation is completely lost for good or not.

2 weeks ago a white man attacked a black man – the black man, on his back, shot the man – he was not charged for any crime due to Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’s law & because it was self defense. In the Martin case, the attacker is black, the man who defended himself was white, & police were pressured to bring charges against Zimmerman. Obama chose sides in this case, supporting Martin’s side before he knew the facts (a laCambridge). The DOJ stepped in when this was not a Federal Case to support protests against Zimmerman). The BIAS/PREJUDICED Federal govt targeted a single American citizen based on RACE (Obama: ‘If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.’) Obama said itself – this is about what Trayvon LOOKS LIKE, not that Zimmerman was forced to defend himself from Martin’s attack!

If Zimmerman is found guilty 1) the federal government can step in to an case to attack a citizen based not on facts but prejudice, 2) ‘Stand Your Ground’ will not apply if you legally decide to get out of your car or walk around, & 3) self-defense can only be used by BLACKS from here on out.

Will the last Americans out please bring the flag…!

easyt65 on July 13, 2013 at 3:15 PM