You didn’t have to be a George Zimmerman skeptic to not be surprised as his recent arrest. In the months since his acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman has been stopped for speeding (three times) and faced police questioning over an altercation with his ex-wife, Shellie Zimmerman, who said he punched her father and threatened her with a gun.
Monday’s news fits the pattern. After smashing a table, threatening his girlfriend, Samantha Schiebe, with a loaded shotgun, and barricading her out of the home, police took him into custody and charged him with domestic violence. This wasn’t the first time he was violent with her; during the court hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors claimed there was an unreported incident where he allegedly choked his girlfriend. (And this is all on top of a 2005 incident, where a former fiance sought a restraining order against him.)
But there’s more to the story than just the arrest. During the confrontation, his girlfriend told 911 dispatchers that he put his gun in her “freakin’ face” and that “He knows how to do this, he knows how to play this game.” After police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman also made a 911 call, telling dispatchers that Schiebe was pregnant with his child, and had been smashing furniture around the house. “I just want everyone to know the truth,” he said.
Based from his history, we know that George Zimmerman is prone to getting in confrontations that escalate to violence or near violence. In 2005, for example, a former fiance sought a restraining order against him for domestic violence, a request that game just a month after he was arrested for “resisting an officer with violence.” And, notably, he is quick to call 911 with a version of events that always places the other person at fault.
Now, either Zimmerman is the unluckiest guy on earth—surrounded by people who want to cause him harm—or he is an aggressive and confrontational man who knows enough to keep himself out of the criminal justice system.
It’s no secret that I was skeptical of Zimmerman’s account in the Martin trial, which sounded like the fantasy of someone trying to escape culpability. I had a hard time believing that Martin—a teenager with no history of violent behavior—would circle Zimmerman’s vehicle, punch him from behind, smash his head into the concrete, and threaten to kill him (“You’re gonna die tonight”).
Knowing what we know now about Zimmerman’s behavior, I think his story is nonsense. Indeed, everything seems to point this as the chain of events on Feburary 26, 2012: Zimmerman sees Martin. Zimmerman confronts Martin. Martin resists, and when the confrontation goes badly, Zimmerman shoots him.
The story of the dangerous teenager was just that, a story, crafted by a man who knew how to “play the game,” and get away with murder.