Prosecutors meet with Florida teens over possible hate crime

MIAMI (AP) — Prosecutors have begun taking sworn statements from a group of black teenagers as they weigh possible hate crime charges against an armed white man who confronted them during a housing inequality protest on Martin Luther King Day.

Several of the teenagers met Thursday with prosecutors about the incident involving 51-year-old Mark Bartlett and his girlfriend on a downtown Miami street. The group riding bicycles were blocking traffic to draw attention to their potential loss of affordable housing in the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.

Cellphone videos show Bartlett walking up to the group with a handgun at his side and yelling racial slurs. Bartlett is charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon. Court records do not show an attorney for Bartlett.

Lawyers for the teenagers also plan to file a lawsuit.

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