Zimmerman sues Martin family

Lupita Ruiz

George Zimmerman is back in the news after filing a lawsuit against the family of slain teenager Trayvon Martin.

Back in 2012, the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sparked a cry of outrage around the nation. He was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman.

Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin in self-defense during a scuffle. The NAACP claimed that Trayvon was a victim of stereotyping black men to be delinquents and stated, “Trayvon Martin’s only offense was being young, black and male while wearing a hoodie.” Mourners for Martin were quick to point out the countless other black males fitting a similar description.

The Wolf asked teachers and students what they thought.

“Zimmerman did something wrong, he killed a teenager simply based on stereotypes,” a senior student said.

Zimmerman faced charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the case, which also shed light on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The Stand Your Ground law establishes a right by which a person may defend oneself or others against threats or perceived threats, even to the point of applying lethal force, regardless of whether safely retreating from the situation might have been possible.

Martin’s death inspired a national cry for more justice for black men and had people questioning the tactics behind neighborhood watchmen and police officers.

Former President Barack Obama, who spoke on the event said, “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.  And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”

Fast forward to 2020.

Zimmerman, who was not found guilty back in the trial in 2013 in The State of Florida V.  George Zimmerman, is currently suing Martin’s family for $100 million. According to CNN, Zimmerman decided to sue due to personal damage the Martin family caused to his reputation and his claim that they conspired against him. He claims that the Martin family’s attorney, Ben Crump, made false accusations about him in a book written about the tragic event. Specifically, the suit contends that the prosecution’s key witness against Zimmerman at his 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an “imposter and fake witness.”

“Zimmerman is the one who did something wrong,” a student said.

Others in the Tualatin High School community reacted similarly.

“To me, it’s kind of disgusting that this would happen,” a teacher said. “I guess the courts will sort it out, but it doesn’t make me feel happy, and I don’t think it is fair for Zimmerman to pick at a wound that was in the process of healing.”