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AP Florida

U.S. could bring hate charge in Trayvon Martin shooting

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 09:57 PM

MIAMI — Legal experts say the U.S. Justice Department could bring a hate crime charge against the shooter in the killing of a black Florida teenager.

But that will require a finding that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because of racial bias.

Drexel University law professor Donald Tibbs thinks Zimmerman's bias is obvious. He thinks a 911 tape shows Zimmerman muttering a racial slur just before last month's shooting.

But others say that the recording isn't conclusive and that there is nothing definitive showing the 28-year-old Zimmerman acted because of prejudice. They say he might have followed Martin because the neighborhood had been hit by several burglaries committed by young black males.

Martin was returning to the home of his father's fiance when he was shot.

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