In an interview with The Daily Beast this week, Zimmerman made it clear he has no remorse about shooting the 17-year-old boy to death in Sanford, Florida, and bears outright hostility for the parents whose son he took away forever.
“They didn’t raise their son right. He attacked a complete stranger and attempted to kill him,” Zimmerman said of Martin.
“Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin did everything they could to capitalize on her son’s death,” he said. “She was never a mother figure to him. Tracy Martin couldn’t have cared less about their son. He treated him like a dog without a leash.”
Four years after Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the acquitted killer reportedly sold the gun he used to do it to an undisclosed buyer for $138,900 on Wednesday.
On Feb. 26, 2012, Zimmerman was following Martin down the street of the Retreat at Twin Lakes community, a gated neighborhood in Florida, and called police to describe him as suspicious. The suspicion seemed only based upon the fact that Martin was black, male, and wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Despite a 911 dispatcher saying he did not have to follow the teenager, Zimmerman did so anyway. Sometime later, after Zimmerman ended his call with the police, he and Martin got into an altercation that ended with Zimmerman, the coordinator of a local neighborhood watch, firing a 9 millimeter bullet from his Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol into the teen’s chest.
“It is what was used to save my life from a near-death brutal attack by Trayvon Martin,” Zimmerman said of the gun. “If it was a stick or mace, it’s the one tool I had that prevented Trayvon from killing me.”
Zimmerman was not anywhere near close to death when police arrived: He had a bloody nose and lacerations on the back of his head.
He tried to stay out of the public eye after his acquittal in 2013, remaining on the fringes of American society as a one of the 21st century’s greatest villains and occasionally stirring the pot of outrage as he attempted to find gainful employment and financial security. Zimmerman was investigated by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations and lived jobless and homeless for a year after the trial. The same year of his acquittal, Zimmerman’s girlfriend alleged that he had pointed a shotgun at her and started breaking her things. He was charged with felony aggravated assault for the incident, charges his girlfriend later requested to be dropped.
A year later, Zimmerman was involved in a road rage incident with Matthew Apperson, who shot at him on a public street in a separate incident six months later. (Zimmerman was hit in the face by a ricochet.) At the time, Zimmerman was using his infamy to auction off American flag paintings he made on eBay—one even sold for $100,000.
When he wasn’t getting into shootouts or hawking memorabilia online, Zimmerman was calling President Obama an “ignorant baboon” on Twitter and retweeting a photo of Martin’s dead body (caption: “Z-Man is a one man army”). Zimmerman claimed he couldn’t see the photo, just the caption, adding, “I do not want to see or relive the night that I was attacked and had to use lethal force to defend my life. No part of the events that transpired that night were heroic or admirable.”
Yet a year later, he has marketed the gun as a symbol of liberty and American history—something to be treasured and owned by a patriot.
When asked if he considers how Martin’s family feels about him requesting $100,000 for the gun he used to kill their son, Zimmerman called them bad parents.
“Sure, I’m sorry for any parent that has lost a child,” Zimmerman said. “That being said, I also believe it’s their duty to have an internal dialogue to see what they should have done better and what they should have done appropriately.”
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the family, did not respond to a request for comment.
Zimmerman claims he initially wanted to keep the gun for his future children and grandchildren but said he came to the decision to sell the gun after praying. “It took me several weeks to think about it,” Zimmerman said.
It’s what the forefathers would do, he surmised.
And it’s an opportune moment to make an extra $100,000 after everyone from Martin’s family to the Black Lives Matter movement forced him into a life on the run without a job.
“If I have to live my life and if I have to go about my business as a normal person, then I would do that. However, I’m not afforded that luxury anymore,” he said. “You guys. The media. The masses. The Fulton-Martin family. They took that from me.”
Zimmerman hates the movement he helped create above all: Black Lives Matter.
He detests the fact that his senseless killing of Martin and the subsequent high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men and children in Ferguson, Cleveland, and elsewhere have emboldened the movement to seek justice where it doesn’t exist yet. For him, it’s the police officers who were wronged, the dutiful men and women in blue who are the victims.
On July 13, 2013, when Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder, Alicia Garza, an Oakland-based activist, took to Facebook to write: “Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter, Black Lives Matter.”
Patrisse Cullors, another activist in the area, turned the phrase into a hashtag that went on to organize mass protests over the killing of black men by police from Ferguson to Baltimore.
Ciara Taylor, political director for Dream Defenders, an activist group that mobilized after Martin’s death, condemned Zimmerman’s actions.
“I am not a mental health professional, but I think that it is important to note that May is Mental Health Awareness month, and it is clear to me by his actions that George Zimmerman is deeply disturbed and should seek psychological help soon,” Taylor told The Daily Beast.
“The recent actions of George Zimmerman are prime examples of a mental condition affecting the country at large: a heteropatriarchal, white supremacist societal illness that has been permeating and abstracting the moral conscience of the people United States since its foundation.”
The wannabe cop who was playing neighborhood watch when he killed Martin now makes himself out to be a hero for law enforcement under siege by black protesters.
His fascination with police officers and laudatory praise for all they do traces back to his own aspirations to join the force. Zimmerman applied to be a police officer in Virginia, where he lived before moving to Florida. He ended up serving as the neighborhood watch coordinator for the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford where Martin was temporarily staying in 2012.
It was the police who first validated his self-defense claims, releasing him without charges after taking him into custody. And now Zimmerman wants to protect the lives of the people who believed in him—police officers across the country hoping to combat renegade violent protesters.
“They would know that George Zimmerman is going to step in and make them richer than they ever dreamed of being,” he valiantly claimed.
“I would take that money and I would make sure that every law enforcement officer and every single civilian who is affected by the Black Lives Matter fraudulent, violent campaign—those officers, those civilians, their entire families—were made wealthy beyond their wildest imaginations,” he said.
In the past week, UnitedGunGroup.com, which hosted the auction, has been overrun by trolls like “Racist McShootface” bidding outlandish amounts like $65 million for the gun. The newest listing on the same site asks for a starting bid of $100,000 and provides an email address for Zimmerman, meant to screen fake offers.
As for the final sale price, Zimmerman said he wants the gun to “be worth as much as possible.”
“One of the firmest offers I have with verified assets is $100,000,” he claimed. “There isn’t a set amount.”
It doesn’t matter to him who gets the gun, as long as they pay up and are lawfully licensed. (The buyer will have to pass a background check).
“I recognize the purchaser’s ownership and right to do with the firearm as they wish,” Zimmerman wrote in his auction posting. “The purchaser is guaranteed validity and authenticity of the firearm. A portion of the proceeds will be used to: fight BLM violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of Angela Corey’s persecution career and Hillary Clinton’s anti-firearm rhetoric.”
Corey is the state’s attorney who prosecuted Zimmerman for second-degree murder and is being challenged for her position this year. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Clinton has received the endorsement of Martin’s mother, with whom she has appeared at various campaign events, and will speak at an event hosted by the Trayvon Martin Foundation this month. Clinton’s campaign did not comment on Zimmerman’s specific grievances with her candidacy—he referred to her campaign in the interview as a “crusade to crucify America”—but instead pointed to a recent tweet from Clinton’s account.
“It has nothing to do with her presidential campaign,” Zimmerman explained. “It’s about her as an individual. It doesn’t matter if she was running for president or if she was running her own used car lot, which I think she’s still unqualified for.”
The Hillary hate doesn’t necessarily mean Zimmerman will vote for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who once said the shooter might not make it to heaven that quickly as a result of his actions.
“I would have to do a lot of homework before I decide to endorse him,” Zimmerman said. Yet he “will do whatever it takes to dispel [Clinton’s] lies and disrupt the Black Lives Matter movement.”
The auction and the story of his life is about Zimmerman as a victim, if he could tell it his way. He has suffered; not Martin’s family. He’s in the right, not the president and the Department of Justice. He is looking for a page in the history books and a chance to control his legacy, not another foray into the spotlight and some extra cash.
“Someone has to do something and I cannot just keep sitting back and saying somebody has to do something,” Zimmerman said of the United States he thinks is broken.
“This is for me to contribute and make it a better place.”