Conservative Watchdog Group Claims U.S. Justice Department Incited Anti-Zimmerman Protests

As jurors in George Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial prepare to deliberate whether Zimmerman is guilty, innocent, or something in between, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is now explosively claiming that the U.S. Department of Justice helped to organize and coordinate anti-Zimmerman rallies in the wake of the shooting.

Screaming "conspiracy theory" during the peak of a mass-media event is nothing new, but Judicial Watch insists it has the documents to prove it—and articles written by the Orlando Sentinel at the time of the protests notes the presence of what "looked like federal agents."

A trip down memory lane: the U.S. Department of Justice opened the original investigation into Zimmerman after national protests ensued when he was released after five hours of questioning. The Community Relations Service (CRS) is a little-known branch of the department, and was allegedly dispatched to help organize the protests. If true, it may be that they were simply deployed to keep the wide-ranging and heated protests under control. Judicial Watch doesn't think so.

President Obama gave an emotive speech about Trayvon Martin in March last year, a month after the boy's death. "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids," Obama said. "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." His comments are now providing fuel for Judicial Watch's claim that the administration stirred up the response to the shooting in an effort to prosecute Zimmerman.

Judicial Watch places itself firmly on the Right, and commentators on the Left are defending the CRS. "There's little reason to doubt that [the CRS] purported to carry out their statutory peacemaking role by working with all parties," said PowerLine. The original Orlando Sentinel report called these alleged federal agents the "league of secretive peacemakers."