Judicial Watch, a conservative legal foundation, has used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover documents that show Eric Holder’s Justice Department used a “community relations” unit to support and stage-manage public protests in Florida against George Zimmerman after his controversial February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS) even helped organize a meeting between Sanford, Fla., public officials and the local NAACP. The result was the resignation of police chief Bill Lee over his handling of the Martin case. While his resignation was rescinded after a few weeks by local officials, Chief Lee faced further pressure to leave his job and ultimately quit for good two months later. Valerie Houston, one of the pastors leading the protests against Zimmerman and Lee, praised the Community Relations Service as being “there for us.”