"It's heartbreaking that it's 2020 and this was a lynching of an African-American man," Bottoms said of Ahmaud Arbery's death on CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
The two white men face charges of murder and aggravated assault in Arbery's murder. Arbery, a former high school football player, would turn 26 on Friday.
Although Gregory McMichael has claimed Arbery looked like a suspect in a recent burglary string, Glynn County Police told Lert. Cheri Bashlor to CNN last week just one car burglary in the neighborhood was reported when a 9mm gun was stolen Jan. 1 from an unlocked truck outside McMichael's home.
Marcus Arbery Sr. has also likened the son's murder to a modern lynching.
"Anytime you chase a young man, get in a truck with shotguns and a gun … and you follow him and slaughter him like that, it's lynching," he said.
Lower says she believes the arrests would not have been made if the video of the shooting had not appeared. CNN has not verified who recorded the video – taken by someone in a vehicle pulling up behind a pickup that stopped in the road – but it captured incidents that match many stories about the shooting.
"I think that's definitely why they were charged. I think we wouldn't have seen that video if I hadn't seen it," Bottoms said. The Democrat also said Arbery's death is a bigger issue that extends beyond the state of Georgia.
"With the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways, I think many who are exposed to being racist will be allowed to do so in an open way that we would not otherwise see in 2020," she said she. "In cities across the country, even if local leadership fails, it has always been the backstop of our Justice Department to step in and make sure people are being sued properly. But we don't have that leadership at the top right now. It's disheartening."
She continued, "I think it speaks to the need to have leadership at the top that looks after all our communities and not just in words, but also in deeds."
CNN has contacted the White House and the Department of Justice for answers to Bottom's comments.
"I saw the tape, and it's very, very disturbing, the tape," Trump said during a phone interview with Fox News. "I saw it, it's very disturbing."
"I'd say it looks like a really good young guy," the president said of Arbery. "It's a very disturbing situation for me, and my heart goes out to my parents and family and friends, but still we have to take it, law enforcement will look into it."