Black Lives Matter, the modern movement for racial rights, was launched after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but the situation had been boiling for some time. The spark that started the fuse of high-profile murders of African Americans in modern times might have been Trayvon Martin’s killing at the hands of George Zimmerman.
In February 2012, the 17-year-old Martin was carrying Skittles and a can of Arizona juice when he was gunned down by local neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted thanks to Florida’s permissive self-defense statute called “Stand Your Ground,” which permits deadly force even when the shooter is not in any actual danger.
George Zimmerman now finds himself in court yet again for stalking a documentary filmmaker working on a project about Martin’s death.
After a private investigator, Dennis Warren, contacted Zimmerman in 2017 about the documentary, Zimmerman started sending a producer on the film what were seen as physical threats both against Warren and film crew. Warren received 21 phone calls, 38 text messages, and seven voicemails from Zimmerman, commonly repeating the statement “I’ll see you before you realize it.”
When Warren asked George Zimmerman to desist on the advice of authorities, Zimmerman responded with, “Text me again. I’ll show up at your home you FUCKING PUSSY!!!”
Zimmerman also linked to an article where he told Jay-Z “I know how to handle people who fuck with me, I have since February of 2012,” an apparent admission of killing Martin because he had “fucked with” Zimmerman.
Zimmerman also, according to the probable cause affidavit, responded to a female sergeant attempting to contact him about the stalking allegations with gender-focused profanities.
This isn’t the first time Zimmerman has seized the spotlight at metaphorical gunpoint. In 2016, he tried to make $138,900 auctioning off the murder weapon he used to fatally shoot an unarmed teenager. He further cashed in on his murder when he raised over $200,000 online through donations to his legal defense (a tactic later used by the shooter in Ferguson).
Zimmerman refuses to leave the spotlight, either by profiting off the killing of a kid who bought Skittles or by becoming a weird icon for racially motivated killing that even prompted a profile of his family in GQ.
Zimmerman’s court date is set for May 30, but in the meantime, one thing is for certain: if George Zimmerman catches documentary filmmakers with candy and a drink, all bets are off.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.