A (Short) History Of Violence: The Post-Acquittal George Zimmerman Timeline

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This post was originally published in September 2014. We are updating it as Zimmerman is involved in more incidents. Most recently updated on May 11, 2015.

It’s been more than two years since George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. and, although he was acquitted of murder a little more than a year ago, he certainly hasn’t left the spotlight. In addition to the road rage incident earlier this month, Zimmerman has managed to compile a weighty record of violent incidents, threats and sometimes simply bizarre behavior that tends to undermine his version of events on the night he shot Martin.

Even his father, Robert Zimmerman, has raised concerns that his son is ready to explode again. In an article for its October issue that went online this week, GQ talked to his dad, who told the magazine George Zimmerman is still so afraid of being charged with federal civil rights violations in connection to the Martin shooting that he worries “if FBI agents come and kick in his door, he’s probably gonna shoot a few of them.”

Whether those charges will come remains to be seen. But since his acquittal Zimmerman has managed to evade the grasp of obscurity amid a swirl of domestic violence charges (pressed and then dropped), vibrant paintings (allegedly plagiarized and then sold), and celebrity boxing matches (entered and then canceled – twice).

Below, a look at his life since his acquittal.

The Rescue

Zimmerman assisted in the rescue of a family of four who were trapped when their SUV rolled over alongside the highway in Sanford, Fla. on July 18, 2013, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News. Zimmerman never witnessed the crash, and he left after speaking with police. It was the first reported sighting of Zimmerman since he left the courtroom after being acquitted in the death of Martin.

The First Speeding Incident

Zimmerman was pulled over for speeding on July 28, 2013 in Forney, Texas, according to TMZ. He reportedly told the officer he was carrying a gun in his vehicle. After the officer asked where he was going, Zimmerman reportedly replied, “Nowhere in particular.” Zimmerman also asked the officer if he recognized him from television, according to television station KTVT. Zimmerman eventually drove off after receiving a warning from the officer.

The Gun Factory Tour

Zimmerman was shown in a photograph obtained by TMZ visiting the factory of Kel-Tec firearms, the company that manufactured the gun he used to shoot Martin. The visit was on Aug. 22, 2013, a little more than a month after his acquittal. He was reportedly inquiring about the legality of buying a tactical shotgun and was given a tour of the grounds by the owner’s son. A spokesman for Zimmerman’s attorney later said the visit wasn’t advisable. “That was not part of our public relations plan,” he said.

The Second Speeding Incident

On Sept. 3, 2013, according to Time magazine, Zimmerman was pulled over for driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. He did not have his license and registration and, according to Lake Mary, Fla. police, was not carrying a weapon this time. He received a $256 ticket.

The First Domestic Violence Dispute

Zimmerman’s estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, called 911 on Sept. 9, 2013, saying he had threatened her and her father with a gun, the Orlando Sentinel reported. On an audio recording of the 911 call, Shellie Zimmerman could be heard saying that her husband had “his hand on his gun and he keeps saying step closer.” Shellie Zimmerman told officers she did not see a weapon. George Zimmerman’s lawyer suggested that his client did have a gun but maintained it was holstered and under his shirt the entire time. Shellie Zimmerman refused to press charges, and police said George Zimmerman had smashed an iPad that was believed to have contained video of the confrontation.

The Second Domestic Violence Dispute

Zimmerman was arrested on Nov. 18, 2013, after allegedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, according to television station WESH. However, prosecutors later dropped charges against Zimmerman after Scheibe reportedly changed her story and refused to cooperate with authorities.

The Allegedly Plagiarized Paintings

Zimmerman apparently picked up the hobby of painting after his acquittal. One of his paintings, of the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, was unveiled by his brother on Twitter on Jan. 22, 2014. The portrait depicted State Attorney Angela Corey. It followed an earlier painting by Zimmerman of an American flag, which sold on eBay for $100,099.99 in December 2013. Both the portrait of “Angie” and the American flag painting were allegedly plagiarized from photos by the Associated Press and Shutterstock, respectively. On Jan. 24, the Associated Press issued a cease-and-desist letter to Zimmerman.

The Celebrity Boxing Match

Zimmerman told Radar Online on Jan. 30, 2014 that he would be participating in a celebrity boxing match for charity. Zimmerman didn’t specify how much money would be donated and said he wouldn’t name the charity that would benefit because of negativity it might face. The match was originally scheduled for March 1 and was supposed to air on Pay Per View. Among those who had volunteered to fight Zimmerman were rappers the Game and DMX. The match was canceled, however, after the promoter pulled out. A second promoter stepped in and intended to go through with the match on March 15, saying a foundation set up in Trayvon Martin’s name would get some of the proceeds. But he pulled out, too, after the foundation refused to accept donations from the event.

The CNN Interview

In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Feb. 17 of this year, Zimmerman said he was the “victim” in Martin’s death. He refused to answer Cuomo’s question about whether he regretted killing Martin, citing a civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice. Cuomo confirmed that the DOJ was conducting an investigation into Zimmerman’s actions, but the department said it was unlikely charges would be brought against him. During the interview, Zimmerman told Cuomo that he had experienced a “miscarriage of justice” and had been scapegoated by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Signing Autographs At A Gun Show

Zimmerman “greeted people and autographed photos of him posing with his dog” at a gun show in Central Florida on March 8, 2014, according to TV station WESH. Organizers of the event reportedly had to change the location at least once because of public backlash.

The Dismissed Libel Suit

Zimmerman’s libel suit against NBC Universal was thrown out by a Florida judge on June 30, 2014, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Zimmerman was attempting to sue the company over an edited audio clip of his 911 call. The edited clip, which aired four times in the month after Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, implied that Zimmerman needlessly mentioned that Martin was black. In the suit, Zimmerman also claimed that NBC falsely reported that he used a racial slur during the call.

The Neighborhood Watchman Returns

A police officer discovered Zimmerman sitting in his parked pickup truck on July 28, 2014 outside of a motorcycle and gun shop in DeLand, Fla., according to the Orlando Sentinel. The officer, Sgt. Chris Estes, questioned Zimmerman, who reportedly said he had permission from the store’s owner to patrol the area but Estes was unable to verify this. The Daytona Beach News-Journal quoted the store’s gun manager who denied that Zimmerman was an employee of the store. Additionally, the store released a statement saying that all reports saying Zimmerman was working as a “Security Guard or Night Watchman” were completely false. However, the owner did appear to know Zimmerman. In a publicity stunt last year, he had offered Zimmerman a gun to replace the one used to shoot Trayvon Martin.

The First Road Altercation

Police in Lake Mary, Fla. received a 911 call earlier this month from a man alleging Zimmerman threatened to kill him during a road rage incident, according to TV station WESH. The caller said Zimmerman started shouting expletives and death threats at him while stopped at a light. WESH reported that police advised the caller that it would be difficult to prove it was Zimmerman and charges were never pressed. However, the following day, the same man called police, saying Zimmerman had shown up at his work and he feared for his safety, according to TV station WSVN. Zimmerman reportedly admitted he had exchanged words with the man when he was confronted by police.

The Thrown Wine Bottle

Zimmerman was arrested for aggravated assault with a weapon on Jan. 9, 2015 after he allegedly threw a wine bottle at his girlfriend, according to a police report. Police in Lake Mary, Fla. responded to a “disturbance” on Jan. 5 at a residence later identified as Zimmerman’s, the report said. As officers arrived at the home, they reportedly heard glass breaking and witnessed a woman getting into a car. Police pulled over the woman, who said she had lived with Zimmerman for two or three months. She told police that she and Zimmerman had been arguing but that she left the residence when he threw a wine bottle at her, according to the report. She said the bottle didn’t hit her but that it scared her. In the report, the woman reportedly called Zimmerman a “psychopath.” Officers located Zimmerman on Jan. 9 and arrested him, charging him with aggravated assault. Three days after his arrest, the woman, Brittany Brunelle, asked that all charges against Zimmerman be dropped, the Associated Press reported on Jan. 30. Prosecutors confirmed to the AP that the case against Zimmerman had been dropped.

The Second Road Altercation

On May 11, 2015, police in Lake Mary, Fla. said that Zimmerman had suffered an injury to his face after a shooting. The department said Zimmerman was struck in the face after his windshield shattered when a man, identified as Matthew Apperson, allegedly shot at him. Zimmerman was released from the hospital after being treated, according to police. Lake Mary police said neither Apperson nor Zimmerman had been arrested. While police wouldn’t discuss the cause of the shooting, they said that Apperson was the man allegedly involved in an altercation with Zimmerman in September.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at ahiza@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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