The Justice Department's Civil Rights division announced late Monday it would open an investigation into the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," the DOJ said in a statement, reports The Miami Herald.


“The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident," the statement added.

The investigation comes after members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Monday called for a federal inquiry into the shooting, which they labeled a "hate crime."

“We urge the Department of Justice to immediately and thoroughly investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin as a hate crime,” said chairman Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) in a statement. "This case compromises the integrity of our legal system and sets a horrific precedent of vigilante justice."

Martin, a 17-year old, was shot and killed near his home in Sanford, Fla., by a Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who said he acted in self-defense.

Prior to the shooting, reports say, Zimmerman called 911 to report suspicious behavior from Martin and followed him, ignoring the dispatcher's request to wait for police.

Martin did not have a weapon on him when he was shot, but there are no witnesses to contradict Zimmerman's claim he acted in self-defense.

Local police say they can't arrest Zimmerman because of a state law that allows citizens to use deadly force in self-defense.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also released a statement Monday pushing for a federal investigation. 

“It is with dire urgency that we ask Secretary Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderIf Roger Stone were a narco, he'd be in the clear Trump flexes pardon power with high-profile clemencies They forgot that under Trump, there are two sets of rules MORE and the Department of Justice to launch an independent investigation of the killing of Trayvon Martin,” said a statement from chairman Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas). “Our children of color need and deserve equal protection under the law."

— Mike Lillis contributed.