Feds are trying to determine whether the beating of an Army reservist in front of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Georgia should be characterized as a hate crime.
Police in Morrow, Ga., near Atlanta, arrested Troy Dale West Jr. last week on charges that he kicked the reservist, Tashawnea Hill, while yelling racial slurs at her in front of her 7-year-old daughter. West, 47, was released from the Clayton County Jail Friday on a $12,150 bond. West was arrested last Wednesday on charges of cruelty to children, battery and disorderly conduct, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Associated Press reported. West, who is White, yelled racial slurs at the woman, who is Black, as he was kicking and punching her in the head, police said.
The Atlanta office of the FBI announced Wednesday that they have launched a "preliminary" investigation, at the request of Morrow Police.
"The information gathered during the FBI's investigation will be reviewed jointly by the U.S. attorney's office in the northern district of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in D.C.," FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said.
“She kept saying, 'Sir, I’m a United States soldier; don’t do this,’ ” Morrow Police Capt. James Callaway said.
Hill said Wednesday that she is still in shock. "I haven't been able to sleep since then," Hill told the Associated Press. "My major concern is that my daughter is OK. Mommy will heal up. Mommy will get better, but she's the future."