S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family of Ahmaud Arbery, told CNN on Monday that the US Department of Justice is investigating the shooting death as a hate crime.
Merritt said he learned about the development after meeting with United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine on Thursday.
CNN has reached out to Christine for comment.
Arbery, who was black, was jogging outside Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 when Gregory McMichael and his son, who are white, chased him after him, authorities said. Arbery and Travis McMichael struggled over the latter’s shotgun and Arbery was shot three times. Gregory McMichael told police Arbery attacked his son, a police report says.
Earlier this month, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr requested the Department of Justice investigate the handling of this case.
A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed earlier this month that the Civil Rights Division of the department was assessing the evidence in the case to determine whether federal hate crime charges were appropriate.
Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested May 7 for the shooting death of Arbery.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who recorded the fatal shooting of Arbery, was arrested last week on charges including felony murder.
Attorneys for the men have said they committed no crimes.