The U.S. Justice Department on Monday said it is weighing whether to pursue federal hate crime charges in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case.
“We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crime charges are appropriate,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said on Twitter. “In addition, we are considering the request of the Attorney General of Georgia and have asked that he forward to federal authorities any information that he has about the handling of the investigation.”
Arbery, 25, was black. The father and son charged with his fatal shooting, Gregory and Travis McMichael, are white. Arbery’s family said he liked to jog in the Brunswick area where he was shot. One of McMichaels who confronted him that day told police they pursued him because they thought he had been involved in earlier neighborhood break-ins.
The Justice Department’s considerations come after Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Sunday asked the agency to investigate the handling of the case, focusing in part on discussions between prosecutors from the state’s Brunswick and Waycross judicial districts.
“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset,” Carr said. “The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers.”
Speaking on Fox & Friends Friday, President Donald Trump called the video of the fatal shooting “very disturbing.”
“I looked at a picture of that young man,” Trump said. “He was in a tuxedo… I will say that that looks like a really good young guy. It’s a very disturbing situation, to me. My heart goes out to the parents, and the family, and the friends.”
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