George Zimmerman is suing NBC Universal, claiming that he has been defamed by the network after it edited his 911 call to police after the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman alleges that the edited call makes it sound like he is racist.
The former neighborhood watch volunteer who is currently awaiting trial for Martin’s death is seeking an undisclosed amount of money from the network in the defamation lawsuit, reports CBS News.
Zimmerman is suing, claiming that NBC edited the call he made to a 911 dispatcher in February. In the call, the man, who has been charged with second degree murder in the case, describes how he followed Martin in the gated community where he lived moments before he confronted the teenager and fatally shot him.
A statement on Zimmerman’s defense website explains that the suit alleges:
“NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.”
The Washington Post notes that George Zimmerman’s lawsuit may have some legal standing, because, in the recording heard by viewers of NBC, the former neighborhood watch volunteer appears to say without hesitation or prompting, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
In reality, Zimmerman only made the comment about Trayvon’s race after the dispatcher asked if the suspicious person was “black, white, or Hispanic.” Along with naming NBC as a defendant in the lawsuit, Zimmerman has also named reporter Jeff Burnside, as well as NBC correspondents Ron Allen and Lilia Rodriguez Luciano.
Rodriguez, Burnside, and a producer at NBC were fired after a network investigation uncovered that the 911 tape of Zimmerman’s call was edited. NBC Universal released a statement about Zimmerman’s lawsuit, saying:
“We strongly disagree with the accusations made in the complaint. There was no intent to portray Mr. Zimmerman unfairly. We intend to vigorously defend our position in court.”
Zimmerman’s decision to sue NBC comes after he offered his autograph in a “thank you” card for anyone who donates to his defense fund. Do you think that George Zimmerman is right to sue NBC for defamation?