More details are emerging of George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old Miami man who’s making national headlines for killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin a month ago and running free. Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting the teen, said he fired in self-defense and has not been arrested in the case.
A look at the local police department’s history includes two other cases in which the Sanford Police Department was accused of giving favorable treatment to relatives of officers involved in violent encounters with blacks.
In a Miami Herald profile published on Saturday, Zimmerman was described by neighbors as a “mild-mannered neighbor who fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.” The Herald also reports Zimmerman called police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. (For reference, there were eight burglaries, nine thefts and one other shooting in the year prior to Trayvon’s death in the neighborhood.)
According to 911 recordings released on Friday by Sanford police, Zimmerman was following Martin because he looked like a “suspicious person” who was “walking slowly,” looked “drugged” and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. In the recording the 911 operator is heard telling Zimmerman to stop following the young man.
But according to multiple neighbors, Zimmerman didn’t follow orders and continued to follow Martin until the teenager was killed.
Police would later learn that Martin was walking back to a family member’s home after having gone to 7-Eleven during the NBA All Star game halftime to get Skittles and Arizona iced tea.
“This case is disturbing to say the least,” Rev. Al Sharpton told Huffpost last week. “This is appalling, to think that this guy admitted to initiating the conversation and that there was no crime other than the killing of this young man. Yet, [Zimmerman] is walking around with no threat of an arrest.” Read more here.