Kyle Rittenhouse’s recent appearance at the conservative TPUSA AmericaFest event in Arizona caused many people on Twitter to compare him to George Zimmerman—the man acquitted of killing Black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. What happened to Zimmerman?
Zimmerman, like Rittenhouse, claimed self-defense and was acquitted on July 13, 2012, for shooting the unarmed Martin during an altercation in the gated community in Sanford, Fla., where Zimmerman lived and Martin was visiting.
George Zimmerman’s acquittal started the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Lives Matter movement was born after Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Martin.
“It was a verdict that said: black people are not safe in America,” Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, told The Guardian in 2015.
George Zimmerman has had several run-ins with the law.
After his acquittal, Zimmerman continued to have run-ins with the law. Just a few months after his trial, he was charged with felony aggravated assault for an incident where he allegedly pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend. He was also charged with domestic assault in 2015 for an incident involving a different girlfriend. The charges in both incidents were dropped.
George Zimmerman sold the gun he used to shoot Trayvon Martin.
In 2016, Zimmerman tried to sell the gun he used to shoot Martin online. In posts on two gun marketplace websites, Zimmerman listed the gun as a “piece of American history” that he “used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin,” CNN reported.
Both websites refused to sell the gun and removed Zimmerman’s auction. He eventually sold the gun for $250,000, CBS News reported in 2016.
George Zimmerman sued Trayvon Martin’s family.
In the past three years, Zimmerman has been going after people who he thinks wronged him during his trial. In December 2019, he sued Martin’s family and others for $100 million. Zimmerman claimed that the murder case against him rested on false evidence. He said that the case was an abuse of civil process and conspiracy, NBC News reported.
“This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,” Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Martin’s parents, said in a statement.
“My heart goes out to @SybrinaFulton and Trayvon’s family and friends. He should still be with us today. We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children - especially young Black boys - can grow up safe and free,” Warren tweeted on February 5, 2020.
A hotel canceled George Zimmerman's speaking engagement.
Zimmerman was in the news again in November when an Idaho hotel canceled a gun conference after learning that Zimmerman was the guest speaker.
"We recognize the immense pain that George Zimmerman has inflicted on many of our guests, team members and community. With their respect and safety as our priority, we have canceled our event," the Riverside Hotel stated in a post on its Instagram page.