THE death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery will be investigated as a hate crime the family's lawyer has announced.
Unarmed Arbery was shot by ex-cop Gregory MchMichael and his son, Travis on Februart 23 in Brunswick, GA.
The pair claim he matched the description of a a man caught behind recent break-ins in the area.
MchMichael also claimed Arbery attacked his son before they opened fire.
Security camera footage showed Arbery at an abandoned property in, but it's not clear what he was doing there.
The pair said they chased him in their truck after they saw him enter the property.
Another man William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, is also now charged in connection with the death after he followed and filmed the shooting on his cell phone.
It comes amid ever rising racial tensions in the States, after another unnamed black man, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis.
Mr Floyd, 46, is seen in disturbing footage telling cops: "I can't breathe," while an officer kneels on his neck.
Cops say Floyd resisted arrest, but video shows large crowds pleading with the cop to release the man's neck – he doesn't do so until medical personnel arrive and take the then unconcious Floyd to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Both deaths have sparked huge protests, with riots breaking out across Minneapolis in response to Mr Floyd's death.
Lawyer Lee Merritt, who represents the family of Arbery, 25 said he met with officials from the Department of Justice last week.
The federal charge carries a life sentence if the outcome of the crime is death – it would also supersede any state case, with the outcome of that case irrelevant if defendants are found guilty.
The FBI will investigate if the attack breached Arbery’s rights of equal protection under the US constitution and civil rights law.
“All citizens are entitled to the same protection under the law,” Mr Merritt said.
He added: “This case makes it clear that all black citizens in south Georgia aren’t getting the same protection because if you shoot anybody in the street in broad daylight, just in general you expect at least an arrest. There were no arrests made.”
It comes as an investigation is also launched into the Glynn County police department.
It took three months for any arrests to be made as the case bounced between three prosecutors in the state.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were finally arrested by the Georgia bureau of investigation (GBI) and charged with Arbery’s murder on May 8 – over 70 days after the young man's death and three days after the gruesome video of the young man's death gained national traction.
Georgia's Attorney General is now investigating the handling of the death, after critics accused prosecutors of overlooking it deliberately to protect ex-cop McMichaels.
Merritt described the botched investigation as a "wide conspiracy".
Speaking to TMZ, he said: "They’re spreading the net here. They said the GBI doesn’t anticipate making any additional arrests, but the FBI very well may."
A statement from a DOJ representative on May 11 confirmed a probe was underway “to determine if federal hate crime charges are appropriate”.
Amid rising racial tensions, a white woman named Amy Cooper has been sacked from her job as head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton after calling police on a black man named who asked her to leash her dog in Central Park.
In yet more disturbing footage, Cooper is seen attempting to get a hold of her free-roaming dog as Christian, 57, asks her to place him on a leash.
Dogs are legally required to be leashed at all times in The Ramble, a protected wildlife area of the park commonly used by birdwatchers.
Despite this, Amy refused and a verbal confrontation quickly ensued, prompting him to film the encounter as she walked towards him.
She tells Christian she will call the police and tell them an African-American man is "threatening her".
Following the slew of incidents discriminating against black men across America, CBS anchor Gayle King said: "Sometimes it's not a safe place to be in this country for black men."
King said: "I am speechless. I am really, really speechless about what we’re seeing on television this morning.
"It feels to me like open season … and that sometimes it’s not a safe place to be in this country for black men."
"As the daughter of a black man and the mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today," she added.
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