Story Summary

George Zimmerman trial

George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch captain, is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012.

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George Zimmerman

eorge Zimmerman waits for his defense counsel to arrive in Seminole circuit court for his trial, in Sanford, Fla., Monday, June 24, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank/Pool)

(CNN) — No charges will be filed against George Zimmerman after an alleged altercation with his estranged wife and her father, Lake Mary, Florida, Police Chief Steve Bracknell said Monday.

“Shellie Zimmerman has declined prosecution (after consulting with her attorney),” Bracknell said.

George Zimmerman had been temporarily detained by police after Shellie Zimmerman told 911 Monday that he had threatened her and her father with a weapon.

On the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, is breathing heavily when she tells a dispatcher that Zimmerman is still at the house.

“He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he’s saying, ‘Step closer.’ He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm,” she says.

Shellie Zimmerman also tells 911 that George Zimmerman punched her father in the nose, then smashed her iPad before getting in his truck.

“I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared,” she says.

Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman’s attorney and a CNN legal analyst, said, “There was heightened emotion, and a disagreement took place.”

O’Mara said Shellie Zimmerman no longer lives at the house — which is owned by her father, David Bryant Dean — and had come to it to retrieve some belongings.

After he was initially detained by officers, George Zimmerman was interviewed at the house by detectives, Lake Mary police spokesman Zach Hudson said.

Zimmerman had offered to turn over surveillance tapes from security cameras at the house to investigators.

Shellie Zimmerman called 911 just after 2 p.m. ET, Bracknell said earlier.

George Zimmerman had a bodyguard in the truck with him when police arrived, Bracknell said.

Police had drawn their guns and told the bodyguard to “stand by out of the way.”

Police said Dean spoke with first responders but was not treated by paramedics.

The incident comes two months after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, was found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

George’s brother, Robert, tweeted after his brother’s detention that the public shouldn’t “jump to conclusions.”

Shellie Zimmerman’s divorce filing last week in Seminole County came after she pleaded guilty to perjury on August 28 for lying about the state of the couple’s finances during a bond hearing in April 2012. She had claimed she and her husband were broke, when in reality they had collected about $135,000 in donations.

Since his acquittal on July 13, George Zimmerman has been in the headlines several times. In late July, he reportedly helped a family escape from an overturned SUV. A report from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office confirmed his involvement.

More recently, Zimmerman has been pulled over in traffic twice. The first time, he was given a verbal warning for a traffic violation in Texas and reportedly told officers he had a firearm in his glove compartment. The second time was in Florida last week, when he was issued a $256 ticket for speeding.

Lake Mary is a suburb of Orlando near Sanford.

By Joe Sutton and Greg Botelho (CNN) — George Zimmerman — who was acquitted earlier this month on murder charges tied to Trayvon Martin’s death — was stopped this weekend for a traffic violation in northern Texas, according to the Forney, Texas, police department.

Dashcam video released by police shows Zimmerman and the officer talking briefly before the officer tells him to shut his glove compartment and “don’t play with your firearm, OK?”

Then, after returning to his patrol car, the officer returns to tell Zimmerman to “slow down” and sends him on off with a verbal warning.

In a tweet, Zimmerman’s defense team said Wednesday that they wouldn’t make any comments on their client’s whereabouts and would protect his privacy “for his safety.”

His brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr., explained what happened with a brief tweet of his own: “A heavy foot … Nothing more.”

The episode began shortly after noon on a partly cloudy Sunday, when the officer turns on his sirens and says, “Get ‘em,” as Zimmerman’s 2008 gray Honda pulls away.

Moments later, the officer pulls up behind Zimmerman’s car, which is by then parked in the breakdown lane with its hazard lights on, as seen in the dashcam video.

The officer asks for a driver’s license, and after a short exchange with Zimmerman and recognizing the name, he says, “What a coincidence.”

“The reason you were stopped is for your speed,” the officer adds later. “And as long as you don’t have any warrants, you’ll be served a warning.”

The entire thing — from when Zimmerman was stopped to when he was cleared — took all of four minutes, according to the police report.

A spokesman for Zimmerman’s legal defense team said he had not confirmed directly with Zimmerman that he’d been pulled over in Texas but, after looking at the dashcam photo, said he believes “it’s probably George.”

Zimmerman last communicated with his defense team last Friday, when he was still in Florida, said the spokesman, Shawn Vincent.

Zimmerman helps family out of overturned SUV

A Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder on July 13 for fatally shooting the 17-year-old Martin in a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. The case stirred fervent emotions on both sides — from the 29-year-old’s supporters who argued that he had a right to protect himself, to others who argued he profiled the black teenager, then willfully ignored a police dispatcher’s advice by pursuing him.

The passions contributed to an “enormous amount of death threats” against Zimmerman and his family, his parents told ABC News earlier this month.

On Wednesday, the Zimmerman family reiterated that they remain under pressure.

“Our family receives many death threats,” the family said in a statement. “We all continue to take our security seriously and to ensure our safety in accordance with the law.”

This week’s traffic stop marks the second time George Zimmerman has made headlines since his acquittal.

George Zimmerman was mentioned in news stories for helping, with another man, a family of four get out of an overturned vehicle in Sanford, said Seminole County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Heather Smith.

Zimmerman did not witness the July 17 crash, and he left after making contact with a sheriff’s deputy, Smith said. No injuries were reported.

george zimmerman speeding texas

Local News

Trayvon Martin rallies in Seattle, around country

SEATTLE — A week ago Saturday, a Florida jury decided George Zimmerman acted in self defense when he shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin.

Still outraged at that decision, Saturday thousands of people rallied around the county, and in Seattle.

trayvon“We want to let the community know that even though this tragedy happened we can stop it,” said Lecia Murphy, who joined more than 100 protestors in Seattle, outside the U.S. District Courthouse. “Let our voices so he didn’t die in vain.”

During the rallies across the country, people called for federal charges against Zimmerman.

In New York, Martin’s mother spoke to the crowds.

“Today it was my son, tomorrow it might be yours,” said Sybrina Fulton.

TACOMA — Emotions ran high on both sides Friday in reaction to President’s Obama’s candid remarks about what it is like being an African American man in America.

trayvon protestAlong Martin Luther King Way in Tacoma, protesters gathered late Friday to show support for Trayvon Martin — the black teen killed by George Zimmerman during a struggle in a Florida gated community.  A Florida jury found Zimmerman innocent of murdering the unarmed Martin.

“I think about my daughter, and I think about the future. All Americans should think they are Trayvon,” said demonstrator Thomas McCarthy.

Protesters in Tacoma said the tragedy was bigger than just what happened one night in Florida; they said the black teen was racially profiled.

“We all have those experiences; that needs to stop,” said demonstrator Dennis Lucas.

Many on Friday called the president’s comments on Friday heartfelt and fair while others say he was out of line.

Lucas said it’s hard to find an African American man who has not experienced Obama’s tales of being watched at a department store or an elevator and in neighborhoods.

“It doesn’t matter how well you dress. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what neighborhood you are in,” said protester James McNeil.

McNeil applauded the president’s comments and said he hopes it will spark a nationwide conversation about racial profiling.

“It’s a good thing.  For so long, if you mention race, people automatically think you are trying to make an excuse,” said McNeil.

“I am affected by the stereotypes that I am being bombarded with everyday; I have to check myself of my assumptions of people,” said protester Laurie Arnold.

Others say Martin’s death had nothing to do with race.

“All of this is fluff; they are building it to what it is not, it’s not about race, it’s a matter of right or wrong,” said Tacoma resident Dave Schnabel.

Schnabel said Obama shouldn’t be taking sides.

“The president does not need to get into this; he’s stirring the pot. It’s not right,” said Schnabel.

“The only good thing to come out of something like this is have some dialogue; it will be painful dialogue,” said Arnold.

Friday’s protest at People’s Park in Tacoma was relatively small compared to what is was expected to occur Saturday in Seattle.

Local News

Trayvon Martin march held in Seattle

Florida jury finds George Zimmerman not gulity(CNN) — George Zimmerman “didn’t do anything unlawful” and was “justified” in shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to one of the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman.

The woman, known as Juror B37, spoke exclusively to CNN. Part 1 of the interview aired Monday and part 2 aired Tuesday night.

Shortly after the interview segment Tuesday, four other jurors released a statement responding to her comments.

“We, the undersigned jurors, understand there is a great deal of interest in this case. But we ask you to remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type of attention into our lives,” they said.

“We also wish to point out that the opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below.”

The jurors identified themselves only by their jury pool numbers.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking about the George Zimmerman acquittal at the NAACP annual convention in Orlando, Fla., urged that laws like Florida’s “stand your ground” statute allowing people to use licensed firearms when they feel threatened should be invoked only after the person first tries to retreat from a dangerous situation.


Attorney General Eric Holder

“It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Holder said. “These laws try to fix something that was never broken.”

Zimmerman was carrying a firearm concealed in the back of his pants waist when, he said, Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, suddenly assaulted him and then started beating his head on the ground. At that point, Zimmerman told local police, he pulled out the weapon and shot the 17-year-old.

It is exactly that kind of situation that the Florida law permits, but that Holder believes should be invoked only when “no safe retreat is available.”

He said, “We must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.”

Otherwise, he said, “by allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has victimized too many who are innocent.”

He also reiterated that federal prosecutors have an “open investigation” into the shooting.

“While that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the Department of Justice will consider all available information before determining what action to take,” he said.

And the attorney general described how in his youth, his father spoke to him about how to interact as a young African American in a confrontational situation, guidance that Holder after the Martin shooting passed on to his own son, who was then 15.

And he recalled being stopped by police in Washington, D.C., when he was a young federal prosecutor.

“This is a sad reality in a nation that is changing for the better in so many ways,” Holder said.

– By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times


(L.A. Times) — When deliberations began in George Zimmerman’s nationally scrutinized Florida trial, the six female jurors were evenly divided on his guilt, according to the first juror to speak out about the case.

Florida jury finds George Zimmerman not gulity

(Pool photo)

In an initial vote inside the jury room in Seminole County, Fla., three thought he was not guilty, two thought he was guilty of manslaughter, and one thought he was guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, 17.

Then, Juror B37 said, the jury pored over the evidence, waded through the law and ultimately decided to acquit Zimmerman.

“I think he’s guilty of not using good judgment,” the juror said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday. Juror B37 announced earlier in the day that she plans to write a book about her experience.

In her interview with Cooper, she said, “I had no doubt George feared for his life in the situation he was in.”

Not that Zimmerman got off easy in the jury room. A couple of the jurors “wanted to find him guilty of something,” said the juror, who remained nameless and faceless in the dark of Cooper’s studio.

Ultimately, picking through the jury instructions, and the legalese of Florida’s murder, manslaughter and self-defense laws, the women could not find a crime that fit Zimmerman’s apparent actions, she said. And once the jurors voted not guilty, they broke down in tears, she said.

“It was just hard, thinking that somebody lost their life, and there’s nothing else could be done about it,” said the juror. “It’s what happened — is sad. It’s a tragedy it happened, but it happened.”

She added, “It’s just sad that we all had come together and figure out what is gonna happen to this man’s life afterward: You find him not guilty, but you’re responsible for that ‘not guilty’ and all the people who want him guilty aren’t going to have any closure.”

Cooper asked if she felt sorry for Trayvon Martin. “I feel sorry for both of them,” she answered. “I feel sorry for Trayvon, and the situation he was in, and I feel sorry for George because of the situation he got himself in.”

Juror B37 had been in the spotlight earlier Monday on news that she had signed with the Los Angeles-based Martin Literary Management agency, as announced by the agency’s president, Sharlene Martin. The juror said she had not taken the book deal to make money.

Cooper said CNN did not pay the juror for her interview.

In the voir dire phase of the trial, Juror B37 said that she was a mother of two, that she once had a concealed weapons permit, and that she disdained the media because “newspapers are just not truthful.” She also said she owned “three dogs, four cats, a parrot, a crow with one wing, and two lizards.”

In her interview with Cooper, she said she thought Zimmerman had been driven to recklessness in pursuing Martin by a string of burglaries in his Sanford, Fla., neighborhood, but also thought that Martin could have walked away from the confrontation.

“I think both could have walked away; it just didn’t happen,” the juror told Cooper. “It’s very emotional.”

Five of the jurors thought the voice who cried out on 911 recordings belonged to Zimmerman, while the sixth was unsure, the juror said. She also said Martin threw the first punch.

“I think George got in a little too deep, which, he shouldn’t have been there,” the juror said. “But Trayvon decided he wasn’t going to let him scare him … and I think Trayvon got mad and attacked him.”

Regarding Martin’s comment over the phone to friend and witness Rachel Jeantel that the man following him, Zimmerman, was a “creepy-a.. cracker,” the juror said she didn’t hold the comment against Martin.

“I don’t think it’s really racial,” the juror told Cooper. “I think it’s everyday life type of life they live and how they’re living, and the environment they’re living in.”

Juror B37 said she was unaware what a lightning rod the case had become. When the trial was over and the no-longer sequestered jurors left the hotel, she said, “it was like Disney World” with all the media around.

“I didn’t see it [the case] as a racial thing,” the juror told Cooper. “I saw it as a murder case, a second-degree murder case. It was just unbelievable it had gotten so big, so political – not ‘political,’ I don’t want to say that – but so emotional.”

The juror told Cooper that race and racial profiling was not discussed inside the jury room. She added that she didn’t mind that Zimmerman would get his gun back, saying, “It’s everyone’s right to carry a gun.”

“I think he would be more responsible than anybody else on this planet right now,” she continued.

She began to cry when she said why she came forward.

“I want people to know that we put everything into everything to get this verdict,” the juror said. “We didn’t just go in there and say we’re going to come in here and do guilty, not guilty — We thought about it for hours and cried over it afterwards. I don’t think any of us could do anything like that ever again.”

SEATTLE — Just how much George Zimmerman’s murder trial polarized America was on full display once the verdict was read.

Across the country Sunday and early Monday, outraged protesters poured on to streets while supporters kept largely quiet. Protesters denounced the six-woman jury’s decision Saturday to find Zimmerman not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

While the vast majority of protests were peaceful, parts of Los Angeles grew tense.

Some protesters hurled flashlight batteries, rocks and chunks of concrete toward police in Los Angeles, police spokesman Andrew Smith said. Police responded by shooting bean bags at protesters.


Courtesy CNN

“LAPD is hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” Smith said Sunday night. “We hope everyone can exercise their First Amendment right to free speech, then get tired and go home.”

Some demonstrators continued their efforts into Monday morning. At least nine people were arrested, Smith said.

For more on this CNN story, click here.