Justice Department defends Fla. ‘peacekeeper’ rallies

Says its group was following mandate in Zimmerman case

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In reply to that message, Mr. Battles said: “Thank you Partner. You did lots of stuff behind the scene to make Miami a success. We will continue to work together.” He signed the email simply “Tommy.”

Ms. Carswell responded: “That’s why we make the big bucks.”

Set up under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS employees are required by law to “conduct their activities in confidence,” although the unit reportedly has greatly expanded its role under President Obama.

Mr. Fitton said that while the agency claims to use “impartial mediation practices and conflict resolution procedures,” press reports along with the documents obtained by his organization suggest the unit deployed to Sanford took an active role in working with those demanding that Mr. Zimmerman be prosecuted.

In April, the Orlando Sentinel reported that CRS had helped set up a meeting between the local NAACP and elected officials that led to the temporary resignation of police Chief Bill Lee — according to Turner Clayton, Seminole County chapter president of the NAACP.

The newspaper quoted the Rev. Valerie Houston, pastor of Allen Chapel AME Church, a focal point for protesters, as saying “They were there for us,” after a March 20 meeting with CRS agents.

Separately, in response to a Florida Sunshine Law request to the city of Sanford, Judicial Watch also obtained an audio recording of a “community meeting” held at Second Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Sanford on April 19, 2012.

The meeting was scheduled after a group of college students calling themselves the “Dream Defenders” barricaded the entrance to the police department demanding that Chief Lee be fired, as he later was. According to the Sentinel, CRS employees arranged a 40-mile police escort for the students from Daytona Beach to Sanford.

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