ACLU believes the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution protects someone from being prosecuted in another court for charges arising from the same transaction. A jury found Zimmerman not guilty, and that should be the end of the criminal case.
They got that right!
However, in the next paragraph, they state:
Although the George Zimmerman case did not involve a law enforcement officer, many other shootings of unarmed Black men around the country have.
and then they proceed to list a few examples, including Oscar Grant.
So, ACLU, does the Double Jeopardy Clause contain an exception for crimes committed by cops on duty?
I dont trust the aclu as far as i can throw them. I dont care what they have to say.
No, but it's much more logical to charge cops a second time with Federal civil rights violations because they are acting under the color of law. Zimmerman was a private citizen, so there really is no coherent Federal case to be made against him. In this rare case, the ACLU is actually setting aside its collectivist agenda for a moment and telling the truth.
There have been cases where cops who crimes were subjected to sham prosecutions. In such cases, it would seem that federal prosecution might be appropriate but the federal government should first have to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the first prosecution was a sham that it never subjected the defendant to any "real" jeopardy (e.g. the judge issued a directed verdict because the prosecution failed to show that the crime was committed in the county where the case was being tried); additionally, a jury that ultimately hears the case should likewise be presented with enough information about the original case to allow them to decide whether the prosecution was done in good faith, or was done in bad faith with the intention of avoiding putting the defendant in any real jeopardy.
If cops want to be subject to all of the same protections as everyone else, on the same terms, they should be subject to the same rules as well. Exemptions from rules which would apply to ordinary citizens carry with them extra responsibilities. Cops who are not willing to accept and honor those responsibilities should be instantly subject to the same rules as anyone else.