Appearing Wednesday night on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” the brother of George Zimmerman repeatedly tried to justify comparing Trayvon Martin, the black teen Zimmerman claims he killed in self defense, to a teen recently accused of shooting a baby boy in the face.
In another series of tweets, Zimmerman claimed that the media often does not mention the “race of suspects of horrific atrocities when they R black,” adding: “Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reson ppl think blacks mightB risky”.
Confronted by Morgan that his posts were “bordering on outright racism,” Zimmerman seemed to agree. “That’s one way to read it,” he said. “And that seems to be the way a lot of people have interpreted it. I don’t think Twitter is the place to make points about what you recall a year ago, because the recollections that I have, or that we have as a family specifically, are very different than what can be portrayed in 140 characters.”
He added that while an apology was posted to Twitter, he feels that the media has not portrayed Trayvon Martin in the way he sees the deceased teen. “What I’m saying is, yeah he was 17, and he chose to portray himself, by his own hand, in a certain way,” Zimmerman said.
“A 17 year old posts a picture of himself gesticulating in a slightly rude manner, on Facebook, that doesn’t make him a killer,” Morgan said. “You’re likening him to someone who’s been charged with shooting a baby in the head in a stroller. That’s an unbelievable analogy to make, isn’t it?”
“No,” Zimmerman said. “Those are your words, sir. Those are not my words.” He added that it seemed all Morgan could see in his tweets is “color,” and not the substance of his statement.
“But they’re two young, black boys,” Morgan said.
“Well, they’re also 17,” Zimmerman shot back.
Pressed on his comment that “ppl think blacks mightB risky,” Zimmerman insisted that the host “stay on topic.”
“What I’m saying is, both of these people were 17 years old, and before Trayvon Martin was a household name, and before Demarquis, you know, from Georgia was a household name, they had an identity that they portrayed. And I’m not saying that because you flick off a camera, that says anything about you, other than that’s the way you choose to portray yourself.”
Mark O’Mara, attorney for George Zimmerman, told The Daily Beast: “I don’t know what was in his heart, but his words and his tweets tend to just rip people apart. To tie someone like Trayvon Martin to a person who seems to have committed a heinous murder, just because they share a common trait of being black and having fingers, is wholly inappropriate. It allows people to start calling each other racists again.”
He added that his client is “a complete non-racist.”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.