Zim­mer­man tes­ti­mony rips Black Lives Mat­ter

He calls mem­bers ‘ter­ror­ists’ in new Fla. shoot­ing case

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Elyssa Ch­er­ney

OR­LANDO, Fla. — In a heated ex­change with a de­fense at­tor­ney, Ge­orge Zim­mer­man called mem­bers of the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment “ter­ror­ists” and said he sold the gun he used to kill un­armed teenager Trayvon Martin for $250,000.

Zim­mer­man, 32, re­turned to the Semi­nole County court­house Wed­nes­day to tes­tify against a man ac­cused of try­ing to kill him by shoot­ing into his truck last year.

The de­fense at­tor­ney for shooter Matthew Ap­per­son, who main­tains he fired in self-de­fense, pep­pered his ques­tions with bla­tant and bru­tal ref­er­ences to Martin’s death.

“You didn’t shoot at Ap­per­son be­cause he had a pis­tol and not a bag of Skit­tles?” Michael LaFay asked.

Zim­mer­man, a for­mer neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer, shot Martin, a black 17-year-old, who was car­ry­ing, among other things, a bag of Skit­tles in his pock­ets when he died. A jury in 2013 ac­quit­ted Zim­mer­man in Martin’s slay­ing, which spurred protests across the coun­try and gave birth to the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

Ap­per­son ad­mits to shoot­ing a bul­let through the win­dow of Zim­mer­man’s truck on May 11, 2015, but ar­gues he acted in self-de­fense af­ter Zim­mer­man threat­ened him.

Ap­per­son, 37, of Win­ter Springs, Fla., faces charges of at­tempted sec­ond-de­gree mur­der with a firearm, shoot­ing into an oc­cu­pied ve­hi­cle and ag­gra­vated as­sault with a firearm.

LaFay asked Zim­mer­man if he as­so­ci­ated Ap­per­son with the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. Zim­mer­man said no, calling the group “ter­ror­ists” and say­ing the at­tor­ney was giv­ing them “cre­dence.”

“They are ter­ror­ists,” he said. “I see them as ter­ror­ists.”

A year af­ter the Ap­per­son shoot­ing — on May 11, 2016 — Zim­mer­man made mul­ti­ple at­tempts to sell the gun used in Martin’s death through on­line auc­tions.

In a post ad­ver­tis­ing the sale, which LaFay read in court, Zim­mer­man re­ferred to Ap­per­son as a “BLM sym­pa­thizer” who tried to take his life.

“I spent $2.5 mil­lion de­fend­ing my­self for the pros­e­cu­tion, so if I sold the gun for $250,000 that’s re­ally not mak­ing any money,” he said.

Over two days, Zim­mer­man tes­ti­fied for about seven hours as the vic­tim in the cur­rent shoot­ing case. His in­ter­ac­tions with LaFay moved slowly as Zim­mer­man fre­quently asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the ques­tions and in­ter­rupted him.

Semi­nole-Bre­vard Cir­cuit Judge De­bra Nel­son, who also presided over Zim­mer­man’s mur­der trial, ad­mon­ished Zim­mer­man for be­ing a hos­tile wit­ness and in­ter­ject­ing too of­ten.

At­tor­neys ex­cused Zim­mer­man for the rest of Wed­nes­day but Nel­son in­structed him to be back Thurs­day in case an at­tor­ney re­called him to the stand.


Ge­orge Zim­mer­man, right, en­ters court to tes­tify against a man who shot at him in 2015.

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