George Zimmerman, shown at a court hearing in Sanford, Fla., last year,… (Gary W. Green / Associated…)
A year ago and after weeks of demonstrations and protests, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with murder for shooting an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin. On Thursday, Zimmerman’s mother celebrated the anniversary by angrily denouncing the justice system and the media for the pushing for the arrest of her son “solely to placate the masses.”
Zimmerman, 29, has acknowledged that he shot 17-year-old Martin to death on the rainy night of Feb. 26, 2012, while the teenager was returning from a convenience store in Sanford, Fla. After weeks of protests that roiled the national debate on civil rights, racial profiling and self-defense law, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder; his trial is scheduled for June 10.
“April 11 2012 will be forever remembered by the Zimmerman family as the day the justice system failed us as Americans, and as a consequence an innocent man was arrested for a crime he did not commit, solely to placate the masses,” Zimmerman’s mom, Gladys, wrote in a letter distributed via Twitter by her son, Robert.
She went on to accuse the lawyer representing the Martin family of “confusing the public and manipulating perception in order to sway the 'court of public opinion.'” Later in her letter, she also lashed out against the media for spreading what she called misinformation about her son’s case.
“From the beginning, this case has been heavily publicized and a false narrative was developed surrounding a very real tragedy when there was little evidence available to the public,” the letter stated. “It is astounding that despite the vast amount of information and evidence now available that supports George’s self-defense claim, the majority of the media avoids its publication. It is indeed alarming that even more media outlets do not regret misinforming the public and have not taken steps to retract the fabrications they are responsible for perpetuating.”
The family gave no specifics.
Zimmerman has been free on bail while awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder for shooting Martin. His lawyers have indicated that they will pursue a self-defense strategy, arguing that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was off-duty, was protecting himself in a confrontation with the teenager.
Zimmerman acted to protect himself as allowed by Florida’s stand-your-ground law, which is broader than the self-defense standards in other states.
Prosecutors allege that Zimmerman profiled a young man because he was African American.
Zimmerman was originally interviewed by local police after the incident and was released without being charged. It was only after weeks of complaints by the family and civil rights leaders that a special prosecutor charged Zimmerman in the case.
“There was absolutely no justifiable reason my son should have been charged for a crime he didn't commit and there was no just reason he should find himself incarcerated either,” Gladys Zimmerman wrote.
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