Unlike other states, South Carolina does not have a state hate-crime law to address the racial aspects of the attack that left nine African Americans dead in a historic black church last week, making federal charges more likely, officials said.
“This directly fits the hate-crime statute. This is exactly what it was created for,” one law enforcement official, speaking anonymously, told the Times.
When asked to comment by the Times, a Department of Justice spokesperson only said that the investigation was ongoing. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had previously announced Thursday the agency had opened a hate-crime investigation.