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Jul 15, 2013 5:35 PM by NBC News

Leaders of rallies against George Zimmerman's acquittal call for broad push for justice

Vigils will be held at federal buildings in 100 cities Saturday to urge the Justice Department to step up a civil rights investigation of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network and host of an MSNBC show, announced plans for rallies across the nation on the TODAY show Monday after a night of protest in some of America's biggest cities.

Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder by a Florida jury. The Justice Department says it has an "open investigation" into what Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called "the tragic, unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin."

While some legal experts doubt the feds will ultimately file charges, especially since state prosecutors did not make race an issue during the trial, Sharpton said he believes there are grounds for a hate-crime case.

"I think they were not aggressive in many areas, Sharpton said of the Florida state attorney's office handling of the Zimmerman case, adding that the feds could bring a sharper focus.

Zimmerman, 29, who is of white and Hispanic descent, said he shot Martin, 17, who was black and unarmed, in self-defense while being attacked Feb. 26, 2012, in a gated community of Sanford, Fla.Sharpton said the neighborhood watch volunteer's comment to a police dispatcher just before the shooting that "these guys always get away" suggests the feds have room to act.

A six-woman jury acquitted Zimmerman late Saturday after 16.5 hours of deliberations. The jurors have not spoken, although one has signed with a literary agent to write a book about the case.

Read more: http://nbcnews.to/11RuzvG

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