Justice Department asks Florida police to hold Zimmerman evidence

CNN News Wire | 7/18/2013, 2:20 p.m.
Diana Smith, crime scene technician for the Sanford Police Department, shows the jury a bag of Skittles, which was collected as evidence at the crime scene, during Zimmerman's trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Gary W. Green

The Department of Justice has asked the Sanford, Florida, police department to hold all evidence related to the George Zimmerman case, Sanford Capt. Jim McAuliffe said Thursday.

The request is related to the Justice Department’s own investigation of the matter, McAuliffe said. The move was expected as the agency weighs whether to pursue a civil rights case.

The Department of Justice opened an investigation into the Zimmerman case last year, and a statement from the agency Sunday said it was ongoing and will now include evidence and testimony from the Florida trial.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was acquitted over the weekend in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

In a speech in Washington on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would “continue to act in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law” in examining what he called “the tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”

“Independent of the legal determination that will be made, I believe that this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly about the complicated and emotionally charged issues that this case has raised,” Holder said. “We must not — as we have too often in the past — let this opportunity pass.”

CNN’s Devon Sayers and Adam Levine contributed to this report.