The family of slain mayoral candidate Marco McMillian has asked the police to investigate his death as a hate crime after they learned that his body was beaten, dragged, and set on fire before being found unclothed on a riverbank.
"The family feels this ought to be investigated a hate crime," said McMillian's godfather, Carter Womack, to NBC.
"We feel this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found," said the McMillian family in a statement released on Sunday. "Marco, nor anyone, should have their lives end in this manner."
McMillian was one of the first serious political candidates in Mississippi to be openly gay. "He was very concerned about his safety; people had tried to talk him out of the race," his godfather added.
The Coahoma County Sheriff's Department isn't investigating the hate crime option, though, according to spokesman Will Rooker.
To prosecute as a hate crime, authorities would have to resort to federal law, since Mississippi hate crime law doesn't cover homosexuality.
Police have charged 22-year-old Lawrence Reed in connection with McMillian's murder. The two men had become friends some weeks before the killing, according to reports. It's not known whether they were in a sexual relationship.
Via NBC News.