The murder of Michael “Luke” Darby may be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a possible hate crime.
Darby, who was allegedly stabbed by Kyle Toups of Carencro in downtown Lafayette on Oct. 14, may be the victim of an “anti-black” hate crime, according to one FBI spokesperson.
Special Agent Kyle Hanrahan, of the New Orleans FBI office, said his office is aware of the case and that its circumstances may warrant a federal probe into the murder as a possible hate crime.
He said FBI officials are evaluating the case as to whether or not to initiate an investigative response that would fall under federal jurisdiction.
“We are assessing whether we will, but with state charges being filed, a lot of the times we will not pursue federal charges if we feel that the matter is being adequately addressed by the state system,” Hanrahan said. “If those allegations are true, it would constitute a federal hate crime under the revisions that were made to that law in 2009.”
Hanrahan said that revisions to pre-existing “Hate Crime Laws” indicate that if the motivation behind the crime was biased against any individual, not just the victim, then it would constitute a “hate crime”. The Darby case, prior to 2009, would not have qualified as a hate crime, according to Hanrahan.
According to Hatewatch – which is an internet publication for the Southern Poverty Law Center– Lafayette Police Department spokesperson Corporal Paul Mouton said that he doesn’t believe that the Darby case is a hate crime.
Mouton said that a knife was found and believed to be the alleged murder weapon used by Toups.
He also said police are no longer seeking “the third man” in connection with the murder case.
As of Tuesday, Mouton said that according to investigators handling the case there was “nothing to indicate that this was a hate crime” during the course of the investigation.
Initially, it was reported that witnesses reported “three white guys” accosted Darby and his two black friends and hurled racial remarks at them in downtown Lafayette on the evening of the killing.
According to web site, Darby father, Jerry, told Hatewatch he consider’s his son death a hate crime.
The Darbys have not returned calls from The Eunice News.
Toups and his brother, Travis were arrested. Kyle is charged with second-degree murder and Travis with accessory after the fact.