Former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman said in a video that surfaced on Monday that President Obama should’ve reminded the American public not to “rush to judgement” in discussing the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman made the comments in an interview with his Tampa, Fla. divorce lawyer that was recorded on March 8, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Monday.
Zimmerman recorded the interview because, he said, he felt he was at liberty to be more open after the Department of Justice announced on Feb. 24 that no charges would be filed against him.
Having been acquitted of murder in the 2013 fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman said Obama only contributed to his victimization and the persecution of “an innocent American.”
He was particularly upset about the speech Obama gave in which he said, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
Zimmerman bemoaned the President’s reaction and said Obama should have told the American public: “Let’s not rush to judgement.”
“For him to make incendiary comments as he did and direct the Department of Justice to pursue a baseless prosecution, he by far over-stretched, over-reached,” Zimmerman said in the video.
In his conversation with his lawyer, Zimmerman said he had a clean conscience but wished he hadn’t gone to trial.
“I believe that the American judicial system failed in the sense that I should not have even gone to trial, but I do believe that the jury process succeeded and ultimately justice was served and I was acquitted and I am a free man,” Zimmerman said. “Obviously, if there was a different outcome then I would feel differently.”
Zimmerman also maintained his innocence throughout the interview.
“I believe that God does everything for a purpose, and he had his plans and for me to second guess them would be hypocritical and almost blasphemous,” Zimmerman said. “Had I have had a fraction of a thought that I could have done something differently, acted differently so that both of us would’ve survived then I would have heavier weight on my shoulders.”
His lawyer, Howard Iken, asked him whether he was the same man he was five years ago.
“Absolutely not,” Zimmerman said. “I have to have my guard up significantly. … I still believe that people are truly good at heart, as Anne Frank has said, and I will put myself in any position to help another human in any way I can.”