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Hate Crime Probe Sought in Miss. Slaying

A Mississippi congressman and a national civil rights group are demanding that the U.S. government investigate the slaying of openly gay, black Clarksdale mayoral candidate Marco McMillian as a hate crime.

"At the request of the family, I have asked that the FBI review the circumstances and evidence of this case to determine whether a violation of federal law has occurred and provide any necessary assistance to local and state law enforcement officials," Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement Tuesday.

Thompson's request came just hours after the National Black Justice Coalition filed a formal request to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking the same treatment.

STORY: Family: Candidate's death a hate crime

"NBJC is standing firmly with Marco McMillian's family so that their concerns do not fall on deaf ears," coalition Executive Director and CEO Sharon Lettman-Hicks wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The coalition describes itself as the leading civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of African-American descent.

"The details of this case just aren't adding up," Lettman-Hicks said. "Whether on the basis of race or sexual orientation, hate is hate. If there is the possibility that McMillian was murdered because of who he is, that warrants the Department of Justice's involvement."

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.