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 a string of burglaries committed by young black males.

Martin was heading back to the home of his father's fiancée when he was shot.

Aide: Obama reacted as parent to Florida shooting

 

A top presidential adviser says President Barack Obama's decision to comment on the shooting death of an African-American teenager in Florida was motivated by parental instinct more than the incident's emergence as a racial issue.

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe says Obama reacted instinctively as a parent last week in saying that Americans needed "some soul searching" in the wake of the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer. The gunman was not charged, prompting probes by the Justice Department and local authorities.

Obama said he supported the investigations, noting: "If I had son, he'd look like Trayvon."

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Plouffe said Obama "was speaking powerfully about this as a parent." Plouffe added that "no matter gender or race, this is a tragedy."

 

 

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)