George Zimmerman is back on the witness stand, but this time as an alleged victim. In the current trial, George Zimmerman is testifying against a man named Matthew Apperson. According to the indictment, Apperson has been accused of the attempted murder of George Zimmerman in an apparent road rage incident. Zimmerman has been on the witness stand for over seven hours over two days.
George Zimmerman as a victim is not a story that is well received by the public, particularly on Twitter. He recently announced that he was homeless, owed millions of dollars due to his legal problems, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the Trayvon Martin trial, according to the New York Daily News. Twitter was not sympathetic.
The Orlando Sentinel reports today that as George Zimmerman testified today, he was declared a hostile witness by the judge. Zimmerman referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as “coward terrorists.” It’s not the first time Zimmerman has been called hostile since the now famous trial where he was accused of murdering Trayvon Martin.
The trial for the death of Trayvon Martin sparked national outrage in the African-American community. Many, including the defense attorney for Matthew Apperson, referred to the Trayvon Martin trial as the trial that sparked and launched the Black Lives Matter movement.
George Zimmerman disagrees, according to his testimony today. He even disagrees it is a movement at all, and he called the Black Lives Matter movement a terrorist movement. He also told the defense attorney today to address the movement correctly as coward terrorists.
Zimmerman has been involved in many public and aggressive disputes with people that he knows and with random strangers. He’s also been accused of domestic violence and smashing his now ex-girlfriend’s iPad.
There is a long, documented history of George Zimmerman involving road rage, particularly when it comes to Matthew Apperson, who is being accused of the attempted murder of George Zimmerman.
Fox News reports that in September 2014, Mathew Apperson complained to local authorities that George Zimmerman threatened to murder him. Apperson claims that when this happened, George Zimmerman said, “Do you know who I am?”
At that point, Apperson declined to press charges as there were no witnesses to the alleged incident and no CCTV footage of the alleged road rage incident in question.
Fast forward to May of 2015, when the two individuals were on the same road again in Lake Mary, Florida. This time, it involved gunfire. That incident led to the attempted murder trial George Zimmerman testified in today. Watch part one of Zimmerman’s testimony today, via Court Chatter.
Zimmerman testified today to a jury in Seminole County that this past May, he was on his way to a doctor’s appointment when he “realized he was being pursued” reports the Orlando Sentinel. He says that Apperson drove up beside him, the pair exchanged heated words, and the next thing he knew was that he heard a bang, and his ears began ringing.
George Zimmerman was shot, but he sustained only minor injuries.
The defense for Matthew Apperson claims that George Zimmerman was the aggressor in both road rage incidents. He also claims that it was Zimmerman who first brandished a firearm in both encounters.
State Prosecutor Stewart Stone says this is unlikely as it would have been “impossible” for Matthew Apperson to see whether or not Zimmerman was holding a gun through the tinted windows of his car, reports CBS News.
But it was the exchange during the cross-examination of George Zimmerman by the defense attorney, Michael LaFay, that led to the hostility from the witness stand in Seminole County today. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the lawyers for Matthew Apperson claimed he was shooting in self-defense in the midst of a road rage incident between himself and George Zimmerman.
And Apperson’s lawyer did not hold back, asking provocative questions about the Trayvon Martin murder trial in which George Zimmerman successfully claimed self-defense.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that LaFay didn’t pull any punches with his questions to Zimmerman, asking, “You didn’t shoot at Apperson because he had a pistol and not a bag of Skittles?”
LaFay was, of course, referring to the 2013 trial where Zimmerman claimed he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense when he saw him reaching into his pocket for what Zimmerman claims he perceived was a gun. Inside Trayvon’s pocket was a bag of Skittles.
Matthew Apperson does not deny shooting at George Zimmerman. He says he was threatened by Zimmerman, and he is facing charges of second-degree attempted murder, shooting into an occupied car, and aggravated assault by firearm for asserting his right to self-defense.
But it was not even the Skittles line of questioning that was the most dramatic moment in court for George Zimmerman today. He was questioned about the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement that was launched after the death of Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman testified in a video seen on Yahoo News. When Zimmerman was asked about the Black Lives Matter Movement, Zimmerman asked the lawyer if his question was conjecture. The attorney responded no, it was a question. Zimmerman responded by saying, “First of all, they are terrorists. It’s not a movement as you have said now. I see them as terrorists, if you’d like to address them correctly….I don’t believe Black Lives Matter is a movement, sir. They are terrorist cowards.”
The attorney then asked Zimmerman if he believed the Black Lives Matter movement started as a result of the Trayvon Martin trial and verdict. Zimmerman testified that he did not believe that was the case, but wouldn’t be able to expertly testify whether it was or wasn’t the case.
A cursory glance at the Black Lives Matter website indicates that the defense attorney was correct. The founders of the Black Lives Matter movement clearly state, “This is Not a Moment, but a Movement.”
“#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.”
Even so, Zimmerman repeated multiple times during his testimony today, “They are not a movement, sir. I do not give them that credence.” However, the organization does, in fact, refer to themselves as a movement within the first headline on their website.
Zimmerman kept referring to BLM activists and supporters as terrorists, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The exchange ultimately led to Judge Debra Nelson admonishing George Zimmerman for being hostile. Watch the rest of Zimmerman’s testimony and the exchange with the judge, right here via Court Chatter.
Coincidentally, Judge Debra Nelson of the Seminole-Brevard Circuit is the same judge that presided over the trial Trayvon Martin murder trial, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
In today’s testimony, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Zimmerman called Apperson a “Black Lives Movement sympathizer” who tried to kill him. George Zimmerman does claim that he is a victim quite frequently.
NBC News reports that just this past summer, he was allegedly punched in the face at a restaurant by a man. NBC also reports that multiple witnesses disputed that George Zimmerman was an innocent party, saying that before any alleged assault occurred, Zimmerman had been bragging about being “the one that killed Trayvon Martin.”
The death of Trayvon Martin will follow George Zimmerman the rest of his life. He was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in that death. It was a trial fraught with public outcry and societal outrage. It was also the trial that launched the now worldwide phenomenon, the Black Lives Matter Movement, known as #BlackLivesMatter.
It was a trial that was also fraught with juror drama that ultimately led to Zimmerman’s acquittal. One juror told ABC News, “You can’t put the man in jail, even though we knew in our hearts he was guilty.“
Another went forward in an interview with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper to say they felt Zimmerman did not break the law. This led to an outcry among the six-person jury with four jurors immediately issuing a statement on court stationery saying that the juror’s opinions were her own, reports CBS News.
The New York Daily News says that since that trial, George Zimmerman’s life has been a mess. He does not go out in public without a bullet proof vest and a safety plan. He also reportedly suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is homeless, and is 2 million dollars in debt.
He is also not a sympathetic victim to the public, even in instances where he is assaulted, and he fits the victim criteria in the eyes of the law. The Matthew Apperson trial continues in Florida tomorrow.
[Photo by Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel Pool/AP Images]