- George Zimmerman, who was acquitted for the 2012 shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, was reportedly shot at and injured on Monday in Lake Mary, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
- Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell told the Sentinel that Zimmerman didn't shoot, but he was shot at. Police initially said the shooting may have been a result of a "road rage" incident, but Bracknell clarified that might not be true.
- Police haven't arrested the shooter, Matthew Apperson. In September, police responded to a road rage incident between Apperson and Zimmerman, in which Zimmerman allegedly told Apperson, "Do you know who I am?" and "I'll fucking kill you." Zimmerman later showed up at Apperson's workplace, prompting Apperson to call 911.
- Zimmerman's wound appears to have been very minor. He was released from the hospital shortly after being sent there with facial injuries. Bracknell said that it's unclear if Zimmerman was shot or injured from flying glass when a bullet struck his truck's window.
Zimmerman has remained in the public spotlight since Martin's death
The shooting of Martin and Zimmerman's trial became a flashpoint for frustrations around racial profiling and stereotypes. Martin, who was black, was walking to his father's home in a gated community after dark when Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, became suspicious of the teen, followed him, and, after a physical confrontation, shot him to death.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in 2013 after his attorneys argued he shot the teen in self-defense, and the Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it had closed its civil rights investigation into the shooting without plans to file charges.
But Zimmerman has not faded from public view since his trial. He has had no fewer than seven other run-ins with the law since he killed Martin, none of which has resulted in a conviction.
The string of encounters reveal a more complex view of Zimmerman than we got during a trial that seemed to focus much more on Martin's behavior than on his:
- In July 2013, police in Forney, Texas, pulled over Zimmerman for speeding. Zimmerman told the officer he had a legal firearm in the glove compartment, and the cop let Zimmerman go with a warning.
- In August 2013, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper pulled over Zimmerman and warned him his windows were too darkly tinted and his tag covers were illegal.
- In September 2013, police in Lake Mary, Florida, stopped Zimmerman for speeding for going 60 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. This time, Zimmerman received a $256 ticket.
- In September 2013, Shellie, Zimmerman's estranged wife, called police during an argument with him. She said Zimmerman had smashed an iPad, threatened her with a gun, and attacked her father. She later recanted parts of her story, and no charges were filed.
- In November 2013, police in Seminole County, Florida, arrested Zimmerman after his then-girlfriend accused him of pointing a shotgun at her, smashing a coffee table, and locking her outside. She eventually recanted and told police she didn't want Zimmerman charged with aggravated assault, battery, and criminal mischief.
- In September 2014, Zimmerman allegedly threatened to kill Matthew Apperson in a road rage incident, and later showed up at the man's workplace, prompting a 911 call. No charges were filed for the incidents.
- In January 2015, police in Lake Mary arrested Zimmerman for alleged aggravated assault after another ex-girlfriend said he threw a wine bottle at her. The charges were later dropped after his ex stopped cooperating.
Some people who feel Zimmerman should have been convicted for Martin's death might look upon these legal scrapes with satisfaction, as proof of his capacity to commit a terrible crime. But no number of arrests will correct what Martin's mother and so many others see as a devastating miscarriage of justice.
"He took a life, carelessly and recklessly," Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mom, previously told the Associated Press, "and he shouldn't deserve to have his entire life walking around on the street free."