The U.S. Justice Department says it is weighing whether to issue hate crime charges against two white men in Georgia for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man.
“We are assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate," department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement Monday.
Arbery was shot in the small coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, in February while he was jogging. The alleged shooters, a father and son, told police they believed Arbery matched the appearance of a burglary suspect.
The two, Gregory McMichael and son Travis McMichael, were arrested last week after video of the shooting appeared online and went viral. They have been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.
Gregory McMichael is a former police officer who later worked as an investigator for the local district attorney's office. He retired last year.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he was following the case "very closely" and was "very disturbed" by the video of the killing.
"Certainly the video, it was a terrible-looking video to me," Trump told reporters Monday at the White House.
Attorneys for Arbery's parents have requested a federal investigation into possible hate crime violations. Georgia does not have a hate crime law at the state level.
On Monday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr appointed a black district attorney from the Atlanta area, Joyette Holmes, to take over the case.
"District Attorney Holmes is a respected attorney with experience, both as a lawyer and a judge," Carr said in a statement. "And the Cobb County District Attorney's office has the resources, personnel and experience to lead this prosecution and ensure justice is done."
Carr has also promised to investigate why it took more than two months for local police to arrest the suspects.
Kupec said on Monday that the Justice Department is also looking into how local officials handled the case.