(CBS News) The Department of Justice is reviewing evidence in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida, but prosecuting Zimmerman at the federal level could be an uphill battle, reports CBS News senior correspondent John Miller.
Martin, 17, was killed last month during an altercation with Zimmerman, who followed the teen as he walked through a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman, 28, has claimed self-defense, though Martin was found to have been carrying only a cell phone, a bag of Skittles and a container of iced tea.
Zimmerman has not been charged in Martin's death, outraging Martin's family and many in the community.
"Can't be self-defense. No way. What's he gonna attack him with? A pack of Skittles?" Tracey Martin, Trayvon's father, told CBS News.
Under growing public pressure, the Department of Justice announced Monday that it would conduct a review of the case, but added the qualification that the "government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids."
Complicating matters, Florida state law allows a person the right to stand their ground and use deadly force if they feel threatened. The Justice Department recognized that, stating that "negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws."
The federal government can't prosecute Zimmerman for murder or manslaughter, so any prosecution for civil rights violations must prove Zimmerman took Martin's life because of prejudice.
Zimmerman's family denied he is a racist.