We must dismantle the fraternity of racism and build an altar of love and justice, writes the pastor of Obama’s former church.
After he reportedly requested monthlong hotel stay.
On the heels of his interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, George Zimmerman was scheduled to chat with Barbara Walters on ABC’s The View—until Babs changed her mind. The talk show host had traveled to Florida with the intention of interviewing Zimmerman, but decided against it when Zimmerman’s interview conditions changed. “Mr. Zimmerman made a request that we could not, and could never, agree to,” an ABC News spokesman confirmed to The Orlando Sentinel. “So Barbara walked away.” Earlier on Thursday, the New York Post reported that the shooter of Trayvon Martin had said he would only do the interview if ABC paid for him and his wife to stay in a hotel for a month. On The View, Walters admitted that their meeting in Florida was “very odd” and “obviously disappointing,” and then congratulated Hannity for landing the exclusive.
Also announce fight to keep his school records private.
Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, on Friday called for a change to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law—the measure George Zimmerman has used in defense of shooting and killng their teenage son. “We want to know what drugs were in [George Zimmerman’s] system that made him do the things he did,” their lawyer told reporters after a hearing regarding Trayvon’s school records. Trayvon’s parents “will stand by any ruling of the court,” their lawyer said, but they don’t think Trayvon’s school records should be relevant in George Zimmerman’s trial for second-degree murder, which will start June 10.
Trayvon Martin’s killer be given a primetime outlet to raise money for his defense if their racial identities had been different?
Making his first television network appearance last night on Fox News, a perfectly coifed George Zimmerman apologized for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin—while in the same breath admitted he’d do nothing different if he had the chance. As Zimmerman, who appeared dazed during parts of the interview, discussed the events that led to the death of an unarmed high-school student simply walking home from the 7-Eleven, it was difficult to imagine a similar chain of events occurring if the tables were turned.
Just prior to yesterday’s interview, Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara released a statement boldly admitting that part of the reason for the appearance on Fox was to raise money for his client’s defense. Zimmerman has already received a pretty staggering amount of donations since his arrest this past April. So much so that in June, his bail was revoked due to the fact he failed to report at least $150,000 in an online account donated from his many supporters. What if every criminal was allowed a prime time interview in order to raise money for his or her defense?
Let’s take it further. Imagine for just a moment if Zimmerman were a black man (Zimmerman is the product of a white father and Hispanic mother). He shoots and kills an unarmed white teenager because said teenager “appeared” to be acting suspicious in his neighborhood community one night. Though the now dead teenager has only a cell phone, Skittles, and iced tea on him, the black man who pulled the trigger not only gets to go home that very night, but he remains free for another 44 days, reportedly because of a self-defense law called “stand your ground.” Only marches and public outcry by white leaders lead to his arrest, but he isn’t in jail long. Even after it’s revealed that he wasn’t truthful with the court about his finances and ability to flee the country, he’s freed once again and then given an extended Hollywood-style interview on a top-rated news program to tell his ever changing story.
Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel / AP Photo
And Zimmerman’s story does change. The night of the shooting, he told the police dispatcher that Martin was running away in the rain, causing him to become concerned. Last night he told Fox News that the teen was not running but skipping in the rain. That’s a big difference.
Zimmerman and his lawyer also explained to Fox News that he didn’t ignore a Sanford police dispatcher’s clear instructions to stay in his car and not follow the young man with the hoodie running/skipping in the rain. Zimmerman, who lived in the community, said he got out of his vehicle not to follow Martin but to check the street name for the dispatcher. Shouldn’t a person so staunchly committed to safety, order, and the neighborhood watch know the street names in his own community?
Would anyone honestly give a 28-year-old black man the benefit of the doubt telling the same story when a Sanford police officer filed a report that night stating clearly that this tragedy was avoidable had Zimmerman just followed instructions and stayed in his car? Would Fox or any other major news channel dare give him 40 minutes to explain away the senseless death of someone’s child who’d done nothing but walk home from the store with a hoodie on while being black? What network would offer a black man a chance to “humanize” himself in an effort to raise more money for his defense for murdering someone whom he deemed “unfit” for his neighborhood but had committed no crime? And would thousands of strangers send money to support a black man who instead of showing real remorse to the parents of the teenager killed by saying he’d do anything to avoid their child dying at his hands, actually had the gall to say on TV that it was God’s will that the events of that night happened? As Trayvon Martin’s father Tracy said in a statement late last night, “We must worship a different God.’’
Imagine anyone being truly sympathetic to a black man who admitted he never once identified himself to the teenager as a member of the neighborhood watch, which may have given the teenager a very real reason to be afraid for his own life. It’s difficult to believe anyone would be so sympathetic if the tables were indeed turned, and the faces of the accused and the deceased were reversed. But sadly, George Zimmerman is and will continue to be a hero to far too many willing and ready to believe that an unarmed young black teenager minding his own business got exactly what he deserved when he was shot to death that February night.
The man charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin told Sean Hannity on Wednesday that he has no regrets about carrying his gun or getting out of his car on that fateful night. Watch more of the highlights from the bombshell interview.
George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, gave his first public interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night—giving his side of a story that has captivated Americans. From Zimmerman’s claim that he was “walking very leisurely” to his description of when he reached for the gun, watch the most shocking moments from the interview.
Zimmerman I Did Not Feel Threatened
Zimmerman claimed that at one point Trayvon, who Zimmerman said had been cutting between houses and “walking very leisurely” for a rainy night, reached for something in his waistband—perhaps a weapon. Zimmerman says he thought Trayon was trying to intimidate him. But when Hannity directly asked if he felt threatened by the 17-year-old, Zimmerman said, “No, not particularly.”
Trayvon was “Skipping,” not Running
Apparently, much of the early confrontation was nonthreatening. Asked if there was “any chance” that maybe Martin was afraid of him, Zimmerman responded “No.” Why would the teenager start running away then? According to Zimmerman, the teen was not actually running, but “more was skipping, going away quickly.” However, Hannity pointed out that on the night in question, Zimmerman told the dispatcher that Martin was running.
Going for the Gun
Gives interview with Sean Hannity.
George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the death Trayvon Martin, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he was “beside myself” after shooting the 17-year-old to death—and insisted “I am not a racist or a murderer.” Zimmerman said Martin had “bashed my head” into the pavement before Zimmerman shot the teen in self-defense. Zimmerman said he would tell Martin’s parents that he is “sorry” about the shooting. “My wife and I don’t have any children,” Zimmerman said. “I am sorry they [the Martins] had to bury their child. I can’t imagine what that must be like. I pray for them daily.” Zimmerman said he doesn't regret carrying the gun, and said this is "part of God's plan." Hannity’s interview is the first time Zimmerman has given an interview since Martin’s death.
Accused Trayvon Martin killer says court is biased.
The Florida man accused of killing unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin requested a new judge today, accusing the judge of expressing “personal opinions” not suited for court. Lawyers for George Zimmerman filed a motion requesting Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester be removed from the trial. The filing states that “the Court has created a reasonable fear in Mr. Zimmerman that this Court is biased against him and because of this prejudice he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing by this Court.” This is the second time Zimmerman has requested a new judge.
Police chief thought there wasn't enough evidence.
The lead police investigator in the Trayvon Martin case told the FBI that he felt pressured to arrest George Zimmerman and did not feel there was enough evidence. A newly released FBI report said that Sanford Police Officer Chris Serino felt that a sergeant and two other officers were “all pressuring him to file charges against Zimmerman after the incident.” The report did not mention the race of the officers, but sources say that two are black and one is married to a black man. Serino’s statement was included in the more than 300 pages of documents released on Thursday. Another newly released FBI report revealed that investigators found no evidence that racial bias motivated the shooting.
On $100,000 bond.
So much for donation-seeking claims that Zimmerman and his wife did not have “anywhere near” the money needed to bail him out of jail. Less than 24 hours after a judge set his bond at $1 million for a second-degree murder charge in the death of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was released from prison for a second time after posting $100,000 bond—a standard 10 percent of the total bail. Zimmerman was reportedly bolstered by $20,000 in donations to his renewed defense fund.
Judge says he poses no threat to society.
Here we go again. George Zimmerman’s bond has been set again—this time at $1 million. Zimmerman, who’s charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, originally had his bond set at $150,000 before it was revoked last month. Prosecutors argued that Zimmerman and his wife had lied to the court about how much money they had. Zimmerman was granted the bond because he “poses no threat to the community," though a judge said he was "flaunting the system."
The neighborhood watch volunteer said he was scared for his life. But newly released documents show he seemed anything but.
George Zimmerman’s decision to get out of his car and follow 17-year old Trayvon Martin on a dark rainy evening in Florida was “inconsistent” with his claim that he was scared of the unarmed African-American teenager he later shot and killed, according to an arrest request written by the Sanford police investigator initially assigned to the case.
In this image taken from a Sanford police video, George Zimmerman' speaks to investigators (not shown) at the scene of Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting, February 2012 (Sanford Police video via Zimmerman Defense Team / AP Photo)
The full two-page request to arrest the 28-year-old Zimmerman, dated March 13, was released by the special prosecutor’s office on Tuesday as part of the discovery process in the second-degree murder case. Previously, the document had been heavily redacted.
The killing of Trayvon Martin in February caused a national outcry because Zimmerman, who is white, wasn’t initially arrested or charged. Local prosecutors said the shooting was justified under Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law. But in April, following an intense outcry, a special prosecutor charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder.
The release of the document Tuesday opens a window on the way police in Sanford saw Zimmerman’s self-defense claims. In the document, police investigator Christopher Serino lays out what he believed is the probable cause to arrest Zimmerman. The charge, he wrote back then, would be manslaughter.
“Zimmerman exited his vehicle, in spite of his earlier admission to investigators that he was afraid of Martin,” according to Serino’s report, “and followed Martin in an effort to maintain surveillance of him ...”
Serino, who interviewed Zimmerman in the days immediately after the incident, questioned whether Zimmerman, a volunteer on the neighborhood watch who was carrying a concealed 9mm firearm, was as scared as he told police he was. “His actions are inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject,” Serino wrote.
Zimmerman had been told by a police dispatcher that “we don’t need you” to follow Martin.
For his handling of the Trayvon Martin case.
Sanford, Fla., officials have fired Police Chief Bill Lee, the controversial law-enforcement officer who was roundly criticized for the way his department handled the Trayvon Martin case. Lee had temporarily stepped down from the position in March after public outcry erupted when the police decided not to arrest George Zimmerman for shooting and killing 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed. Lee offered his resignation in April, but city commissioners chose not to accept it. Lee had said there was no reason to arrest Zimmerman because there was no evidence to dispute his version of events.
Booked on perjury count.
This sure can’t help George Zimmerman’s case. The wife of the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watchman who shot Trayvon Martin earlier this year was arrested on one count of perjury Tuesday, according to a press release from law enforcement officials. Twenty-five-year-old Shellie Zimmerman had a warrant issued for her arrest this morning, and was picked up by deputies from the Seminole County sheriff’s office and booked Tuesday afternoon. She posted $1,000 bond, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. Prosecutors in George Zimmerman’s case argued earlier this month that Shellie Zimmerman had misled the court regarding the couple’s financial standing, neglecting to mention funds her husband had collected through a PayPal account that totaled nearly $135,000.
Why he revoked the Trayvon Martin shooter’s bond.
The judge who revoked George Zimmerman’s bond on June 1 did it because Zimmerman “does not respect the law,” according to court documents released Tuesday. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester sent Zimmerman back to jail after prosecutors alleged that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, had tried to hide $135,000 from the court—money that they had received in donations. Lester’s written order was filed Monday and it includes an explanation of his rationale in deciding to revoke the bond. Lester wrote that Shellie Zimmerman “testified untruthfully” and that Zimmerman “did not alert the court to the misinformation.” He added, “Had the Court been made aware of the true financial circumstances at the bond hearing, the bond decision might have been different.”
Startling new disclosures in the Trayvon Martin murder case allege that the accused killer and his wife didn’t tell the court about another passport he had, and lied about the amount of money they had access to, reports Aram Roston.
In a packed Florida courtroom in April, George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer surrendered his client’s passport—a gesture to show that Zimmerman would not attempt to flee the country if he were released on bond.
George Zimmerman answers a question during a bond hearing in Sanford, Fla., April 2012 (Gary W. Green / AP Photo)
It now appears that Zimmerman had another passport he didn’t hand over.
According to startling new disclosures by prosecutors in the case (PDF), the state attorney’s office says Zimmerman failed to give the court another valid American passport he had obtained in 2004.
As a result of this and other new information provided to the court on Friday, Judge Kenneth R. Lester of Seminole County Circuit Court made a dramatic reversal, revoking Zimmerman’s $150,000 bond package and ordering him to turn himself in to authorities within 48 hours.
Zimmerman, at the center of one of the most high-profile criminal cases in years, has been living in hiding since the bond hearing, but that freedom may now be over as he will likely head back to jail to await trial on charges that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who was walking home through Zimmerman’s housing complex.
The Feb. 26 shooting, in which Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was released without charges, captivated and divided the country. Zimmerman is half-white, half-Hispanic, and Martin was black. A month and half later, after the appointment of a special prosecutor, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Prosecutors said Zimmerman got his second passport after claiming he’d lost his original one, which expired at the end of May 2012. It was that original passport which he turned over to the court; the second passport, which is valid until 2014, remained in his possession.
Prosecutors claim wife lied about finances.
A judge in Sanford, Fla., revoked the bond for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, and he will have 48 hours to return to jail. Prosecutors said that Zimmerman’s wife lied about his finances and that he held two passports—making many people wonder if he would flee under a different passport. Zimmerman's lawyer said the issues were a “misunderstanding.” Both sides are seeking to have records in the case remain sealed, as they are worried about the safety of the witnesses. The media are seeking to have the records released.
In newly released recording from after ride-along.
George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer who has been charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, apparently criticized Sanford police last year after he went on a 12-hour ride-along, according to recordings from an open city forum. “What I saw was disgusting,” Zimmerman told mayor-elect Jeff Triplett, who held the forum following a scandal that ousted former police chief Brian Tooley. These newly unearthed recordings come just one week after a trove of documents relating to Martin’s shooting were released to the public, including documents that showed that four key witnesses changed their version of events between when they were first interviewed in mid-March and after the case was handed to a special prosecutor in April.
Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.
The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has a whole new set of problems after the court found out he lied at his bond hearing, writes Mansfield Frazier.
George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing Friday, issuing a statement to the Martin family. ‘I’m sorry for the loss of your son,’ he told the court before answering a series of questions about the case.
Chaz Guest captures the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He talks about honoring Martin's legacy.
Conservatives are using the teenager’s tweets, hoodie, and school suspension to blame him for his own death—and to show that racism was not a factor, says Michelle Goldberg.
George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement.