George Zimmerman punched in the face after 'bragging' about killing Trayvon Martin
Published 05/08/2016 | 14:04
George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot dead Trayvon Martin, was punched in the face in a bar after he reportedly "bragged" about killing the black teenager.
Mr Zimmerman, 32, called police after the incident on Sunday at the Gators Riverside Grille in Sanford, Florida, saying a man approached and hit him after the alleged attacker "recognised" him.
"He told me he was going to kill me, he told me he'd (expletive) shoot me and he punched me in the face," Mr Zimmerman told the dispatcher, according to transcripts obtained by WFTV.
According to a Seminole County sheriff's report, Mr Zimmerman told officers he had a short conversation with another patron over the man's tattoos and was showing his ID to prove who he was when another man, identified only as Eddie, asked if he was bragging about the 2012 shooting.
Mr Zimmerman told deputies he said, "No," and returned to his table after the man demanded he leave the restaurant.
The man approached Mr Zimmerman and his friends a few minutes later and punched him in the face, Mr Zimmerman said.
Mr Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder over the high-profile death that sparked a nationwide debate over race, told police he was explaining that he acted in self-defence in the 2012 incident.
However, witnesses claim Mr Zimmerman was bragging about the shooting.
“They shoved each other and that was the end,” Gators Riverside Grille owner Edward Winters told The Daily News. “He said, ‘You don’t know who I am, do you?’ And Zimmerman said, ‘I’m George Zimmerman,’” Mr Winters added.
According to CNN, Joseph Whitmer, a customer at the restaurant, said Mr Zimmerman came up to his table and said: "I love your tattoos. My name is George Zimmerman, you know, that guy who killed Trayvon Martin?"
His wife, Beverly Whitmer, said Mr Zimmerman said he liked the man's "racist tattoos," and took out his driver's licence to brag about who he was, the report says.
The attacker was described as a white man with a blond beard. Witnesses said he rode away on a blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
No arrests have been made.
Mr Zimmerman's brother, Robert, described the fracas in the restaurant as "un-American".
"What happened to George is unacceptable & un-American," he write on Twitter.
It is not the first time Mr Zimmerman has been involved in an altercation following the Martin case. In November 2013, he was charged with felony assault after his girlfriend accused him of pointing a shotgun at her. She later requested that the case be dropped. He was again arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in 2015. That case was also dropped.
In May, Mr Zimmerman sold the gun he used to kill Martin for $120,000 through an online auction.