Details are trickling in about the past of George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who killed Trayvon Martin, a black youth he deemed "suspicious." As you know, Zimmerman cited Florida's Stand Your Ground Law to make the case that he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon on Feb. 26 in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., in self-defense. This claim allowed him to avoid arrest. But as details about Zimmerman's life prior to the murder pour in, it appears less and less likely that Travyon initiated a fight with the 28-year-old, which Zimmerman told authorities. Why? Because Zimmerman has a history of violence and a criminal record to prove it.
Zimmerman has been arrested for assaulting a police officer and for domestic violence. In addition, he reportedly lost his job as a bouncer because of his temper. A onetime coworker of Zimmerman told the New York Daily News:
"He had a temper and he became a liability," he recalled. "One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted. ... It was weird, because he was such a cool guy,†but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage.†She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out."
That happened in 2005, the same year he faced charges of "resisting officer with violence" and "battery of law enforcement officer." He got the charges dropped by undertaking an alcohol education program. Knowing that Zimmerman had a pattern of violence certainly casts doubt on his version of events and that racism alone motivated the killing of Trayvon.
Did Zimmerman kill Trayvon only because the teen was black? I think it's more complicated than that. Zimmerman's history of violence reveals a man easily provoked.† But Trayvon never would have wound up in Zimmerman's crosshairs had the former bouncer not considered the teen to be a suspicious person, and I do think Zimmerman would have viewed Trayvon in a different light had the student's skin been lighter.