Department of Justice to Probe Mehserle Case

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    U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) says it is "hard to say" if racism is behind criticism of President Obama.

    The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an independent review  of the Johannes Mehserle case in order to determine whether or not the  shooting merits federal prosecution, according the department.

          "The Justice Department has been closely monitoring the state's  investigation and prosecution," the department said in a statement.
         
    "The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the  FBI have an open investigation into the fatal shooting and, at the conclusion  of the state's prosecution, will conduct an independent review of the facts  and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal  prosecution."
         
    Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she has been in touch  with the justice department.
         
    "I remain in close contact with the Department of Justice and will  continue to work with them, the family and the community in the days ahead,"  she said in a statement.
         
    The statement also addressed local reactions to the Mehserle  verdict.
         
    "Understandably there is grave concern in the community," Lee  said. "However, during this time our city must come together peacefully so  that we can begin to heal."
         
    Lee said she stands with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, the City  Council and community leaders in supporting people who want to express  themselves.