It sounds pretty obvious to me. If that was a racial epithet that preceded the attack on Trayvon Martin, we definitely have a hate crime.Drexel University law professor Donald Tibbs • Suggesting that, if George Zimmerman, the gunman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, used a racial slur to describe Martin (as has been suggested by many who listened to the 911 tapes before Martin’s shooting), the federal government could charge Zimmerman with a hate crime. Others disagree on this sentiment, but the Justice Department could decide this depending on what evidence they find. Or, depending on whether the state of Florida chooses to charge Zimmerman themselves, they may not act at all. Zimmerman’s attorney claims his client, who is half-white and half-Hispanic, acted in self-defense and was injured in the incident.