WASHINGTON - The White House says President Barack Obama won't involve himself in decisions by the Justice Department on whether to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says it would be inappropriate for Obama to express an opinion on how the department deals with Zimmerman after the neighborhood watch volunteer's acquittal in the shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old last year.
The Justice Department has said it's considering whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
Critics of Saturday's verdict have called for the Justice Department to step in.
Carney would not comment when asked how Obama viewed Florida's "stand-your-ground" law which was a key element of Zimmerman's defense.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder says the killing of Martin was a tragic, unnecessary shooting and that the 17-year-old's death provides an opportunity for the nation to speak honestly about complicated and emotionally charged issues.
In prepared remarks -- Holder's first public comments since the acquittal of Zimmerman in the case -- the attorney general says Monday that Martin's parents have suffered a pain that no parent should have to endure. He said the nation must not forgo an opportunity toward better understanding of one another.
On Sunday, the Justice Department said it is reviewing evidence in the case to determine whether criminal civil rights charges are warranted.
The Justice Department opened an investigation into Martin's death last year but stepped aside to allow the state prosecution to proceed.
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