George Zimmerman, the man acquitted for shooting teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, is suing to claw back some of his reputation.
Zimmerman says Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg unfairly portrayed him on Twitter as guilty and as a white supremacist on what would have been Martin’s 25th birthday on February 5.
Buttigieg labeled Zimmerman a racist and white supremacist:
Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today.
How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear?#BlackLivesMatter
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 5, 2020
Warren blamed Martin’s death on racism and not self-defense.
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. https://t.co/9lXXlRnvzL
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 6, 2020
A jury found that Trayvon Martin jumped Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, and slammed him to the ground, bashing his head into the pavement. Martin’s friend said when she spoke with him on the phone he believed Zimmerman might be a gay rapist and got “creeped out.”
Zimmerman is suing the two presidential candidates for $265 million for defaming him.
The lawsuit adds that use of the term “gun violence” is more associated with the “reckless and indiscriminate use of illegally owned firearms” that results in the death of an innocent victim.
The lawsuit also claims the tweets defame Zimmerman by suggesting his actions were a result of white supremacy or racism, or that he acted out of “fear” because of Martin’s skin color.
“The only ‘fear’ Zimmerman experienced, as established in the 2013 trial and well-covered in the media, was in the context of Zimmerman believing he might go unconscious and die from the repeated beating of his head against the sidewalk pavement or by choking to death from the blood going down his throat due to his broken nose during the beating by Martin,” the lawsuit adds.
Both Warren and Buttigieg have been struggling to gain black support this election cycle. Zimmerman thinks invoking the Martin case and referring to racism and white supremacism unfairly smeared him, even though his name wasn’t used.