Over the weekend, online auction-house ebay removed an anti-racist painting critical of George Zimmerman on the same day it allowed Zimmerman to sell one of his own paintings for over $100,000.
On Saturday, an 18-by-24-inch oil painting by “therealgeorgez” — better known as George Zimmerman — was purchased on eBay for $100,099.99. In the question and answer section beneath the auction, Zimmerman even said that “whoever wins within the Continental United States, will receive this painting deliver by me personally.”
Zimmerman’s medium is “regular household latex paint,” which he used because “I needed to put these visions onto the blank canvas as soon as possible.” George Zimmerman currently owes his legal team over $2.5 million.
On the same day Zimmerman’s auction closed, ebay removed the anti-racist painting that artist Michael D’Antuono had created in the days after the death of Trayvon Martin. Fifty percent of the proceeds from D’Antuono’s auction were to have gone to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and with five days left to bid, the price for the painting had already exceeded $25,000.
Then eBay “pull[ed] the plug.” On his blog, D’Antuono wonders why “Zimmerman was allowed to capitalize on his ill-gotten notoriety, [whereas] I was denied the opportunity to raise funds to help the very foundation named in honor of Zimmerman’s victim.”
In an email from eBay that D’Antuono shared with Raw Story, eBay claims that the painting violates its strictures that “[i]tems promoting or glorifying hatred, violence, or racial or religious intolerance aren’t allowed. Items that promote organizations with these views are also prohibited.”
According to the email, “[t]he painting you listed appears to contain images or icons associated with the KKK which are not allowed to be listed on our site as they represent an organization that glorifies hate and violence.”
D’Antuono told Raw Story that he was “outraged” that eBay would mistake a criticism of a hate-group for a statement that “promot[es] or glorif[ies]” one.
The leader of a prominent advocacy group for domestic violence victims sharply criticized the recent conduct of George Zimmerman’s attorney, Jayne Weintraub, and expressed concern for the safety of the alleged victim. Rita Smith, the Executive Director of the National Coalition To Prevent Domestic Violence suggested that Zimmerman’s girlfriend may have been “manipulated” into recanting her allegations against Zimmerman.
Weintraub recently submitted a motion requesting the terms of George Zimmerman’s bail be modified to allow contact with the alleged victim, his girlfriend Samantha Scheibe. On November 18, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault against Scheibe. At that time, she told the police that Zimmerman “cocked and pointed a shotgun at [her], shattered a glass-top table, then pushed her out of the house and barricaded himself inside.” She also told authorities that, in a separate incident a week and a half prior to the arrest, “he tried to choke her.” Weintraub’s motion asserts “it was the police, not Mr. Zimmerman, who intimidated her.”
Attached to Weintraub’s motion was a signed affidavit from Scheibe, recanting her story to the police and declaring that she wants to “be with George.” The Weintraub motion also revealed that she had been in communication with Scheibe regarding the matter.
Smith called Weintraub’s conduct in the matter “not appropriate.” She said that Weintraub’s involvement in submitting the affidavit to the court raised the prospect that Scheibe had been “manipulated” or “coerced” into recanting. Smith said that, if Scheibe approached Weintraub with a desire to recant her story, she should have referred her back to the State’s Attorney or to her personal attorney. It’s Weintraub’s role to prioritize the interests of Zimmerman, Smith said, so she is not a position to advise his alleged victim. Smith said that, as a victims rights advocate, she is concerned for Scheibe’s safety.
The affidavit submitted by Scheibe is written in the first person, but the frequent use of legal jargon suggests it was not written by her alone. For example Ms. Scheibe, who is not an attorney, writes “I make this decision, freely, knowingly and voluntarily, without any intimidation or undue influences. Neither George Zimmerman nor anyone on his behalf has threatened me or coerced me or subjected me to any undue influences.” (Her affidavit, however, does not state that she has not been in contact with Zimmerman, despite the no contact order that was the condition of her bail.)
Smith says that Scheibe’s decision to recant her story and stop cooperating with the prosecutors is not uncommon in domestic violence situations. Even without her cooperation, prosecutors could move forward with the case if they believe they have enough evidence to get a conviction. Evidence still available to them includes the original 911 call, Scheibe’s original statements to the police and any physical evidence collected from Scheibe’s home, where the incident occurred.
An email to Weintraub requesting comment was not immediately returned.
The news that Zimmerman had been arrested again isn’t surprising. It’s just a matter of time before the entitled gun nut and wannabe cop hurts someone else. Just since his release from jail in July, he’s been stopped by law enforcement for speeding at least three times, and police have been called to his home by his estranged wife, who said he threatened her with a gun (she refused to press charges). He also toured the factory that produced the weapon he used to kill Martin. Zimmerman is not now and never was a mild-mannered guy who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and reluctantly killed a young thug who attacked him in self-defense; he is himself a thug with an anger problem looking for trouble.
But given that he used self-defense to evade a murder conviction, it’s appalling to hear him on a 911 call trying to use the same defense against his girlfriend. Samantha Scheibe called police to say Zimmerman held a gun to her face, shattered a glass table, then threw her out of her own house. We hear her yell at Zimmerman on the call. “You just broke my glass table, you just broke my sunglasses and you put your gun in my friggin’ face and told me to get the fuck out!”
Bizarrely, after the cops arrived, Zimmerman made a 911 call of his own, to say “my girlfriend is, for lack of a better word, going crazy on me.” The dispatcher logically suggested that since Zimmerman is calling the police, he might want to talk to the officers who are banging on his front door. But he demurs. “No, they’re pretty upset, I think,” he tells her. “They’re banging on the door and windows.” He’s calling simply because “I just want people to know the truth.”
But the call is one big lie. He goes on to claim that Scheibe is the one who smashed the table, and that she also has a weapon. He also concocts a story about her being pregnant with his baby, which the police have since denied. That’s a creepy and controlling touch. It’s not victim-blaming to say I hope Scheibe avails herself of counseling to understand why she moved in with someone like Zimmerman a month after his acquittal.
Scheibe also told police that Zimmerman had a shotgun, two handguns and an AR-15 rifle with him. It’s remarkable that he still has guns after not only killing Martin but allegedly pulling one on his wife, as well as posting a bull’s-eye with 17 bullet holes on his wife’s parents’ home.
Tuesday afternoon a judge will decide whether to charge Zimmerman, and/or to release him on bail, as well as presumably to leave him with his guns. It should be a no-brainer, but given how the Florida criminal justice system has treated Zimmerman to this point, it isn’t.
I would hate to be a former Zimmerman juror today. I’d also hate to be Sean Hannity, but that’s true every day. Zimmerman’s brother Robert is already claiming reporters and liberals are “rushing to judgment” about his brother, and I’m sure he can convince somebody at Fox to take up the Zimmerman cause again. Look for George to tell Hannity his scrap with Scheibe was “God’s plan” (yes, that’s what he said about killing Martin), this time to alert conservatives to a FemiNazi plot to take away the guns of God-fearing guys like him. Here’s hoping the justice system works this time.
Officials announced Thursday that Zimmerman would not face any charges in a September altercation with his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman. Lake Mary Police said they “could not salvage” the video that allegedly showed footage of the dispute.
George Zimmerman will ask the state of Florida to reimburse him for as much as $300,000 in expenses he racked up successfully defending himself in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, NBC News has learned.
Zimmerman and his legal team believe they are entitled to the refund because Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder July 13 for having shot and killed Martin, 17.
The shooting in February 2012 sparked a national discussion over racial profiling after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he acted in self-defense.
The motion, to be filed by Zimmerman’s lead attorney, Mark O’Mara, would seek refunds for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the defense spent on fees for expert witnesses and court reporters for depositions, travel and other similar expenses.
The request is expected to be between $200,000 and $300,000, according to Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for Zimmerman’s legal team.
Attorney fees for the defense team, including O’Mara, wouldn’t be part of the motion.
The state Judicial Administrative Commission, which would be responsible for paying out the money if the request is approved, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Monday night.
The Sentinel reported that Zimmerman’s request would be based on a Florida law that says a defendant who’s acquitted isn’t liable for costs associated with his or her case. It must be approved by a judge or a clerk.
O’Mara told the newspaper he expects the Judicial Administrative Commission to throw up roadblocks.
“That’s where the fight is,” said O’Mara, who told the paper he’s been paid nothing by Zimmerman but has kept billing records.
It seemed stranger than fiction, as even his lawyer acknowledged, that George Zimmerman’s first appearance just days after he was acquitted for the killing of Trayvon Martin would be to rescue a nice family of four from their overturned SUV. But that’s what reportedly happened on July 17, leading his defenders to call him a hero and some critics to claim the event was a hoax aimed at boosting his popularity.
It does seem like an odd coincidence: Zimmerman just happened to be on the scene of the crash at the right moment, and happened to have a fire extinguisher with him to put out the flaming car. And now the family he saved abruptly canceled the press conference they had planned to thank Zimmerman. It’s all too much to believe for the Zimmerman Rescue Truthers, who emerged immediately after the news broke.
“Even if we had a videotape of the accident, they would still say it was made up. So you can’t really respond to people who just don’t want to listen to the truth,” Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O’Mara told CNN. “The idea that this was made up — it’s just the same people who refuse to accept the jury’s verdict, just want to be angry, just want to hate George Zimmerman, are still going to hate him.”
He’s probably right. As we’ve noted, conspiracy theories are basically impossible to stamp out. And in this case, the circumstances are just too weird, and the potential public relations benefit for Zimmerman — and thus the perceived incentive to stage the scene — too obvious to explain away for those who are upset about the verdict. Fox News, whose opinion hosts have pretty openly sided with Zimmerman, reported that at an NAACP meeting, “there was a lot — a lot — of skepticism, people saying they don’t believe a word of this.”
“Zimmerman can pull someone from a burning car, but he can’t a push 17-year-old, 150 pound boy off of him?” asked one tweeter. On Twitter, the skeptics appeared to be be predominantly liberal and disproportionately minorities — the same kinds of people who have been pushing for harsher punishment of Zimmerman all along — while others questioned the police officers involved.
The image of a murder trial jury often times gives the image from 12 Angry Men, a group holed up, cut off from contact from the outside world, with the weight of life or death hanging over their heads as they decide the fate of the person on trial. However, in the case of the Zimmerman trial, the revelations are of steak dinners, fancy pedicures and trips to local museums, all on the taxpayer dime. The decision to pamper the jury was undertaken for a myriad of reasons. As one Florida attorney, Randy Reep, pointed out:
These women of course are not criminals, yet we took them from their families. While we did not say this then, now it is clear, half of the country is going to very vocally find fault with your dedicated effort. A Bloomin Onion at Outback would not adequately reimburse these women for the bitterness [some will level at them for their jury service.]
In a statement by the Sheriff’s office, this was elaborated upon:
Jurors watched television and movies, exercised at the hotel fitness center, and spent weekends being visited by family and friends.
Hold on a second. The Sheriff’s office did not take them away from their families, they had access to them over the weekend! However, they were carefully monitored to prevent jury tampering at least, right? To verify this statement, AI’s own Dr. Mark Bear contacted them, telling us:
Just verified with Heather Smith, from the Seminole Country Sheriff’s Office at 407-474-6259. She states, “Generally speaking, jurors serving on the Zimmerman trial were afforded two hours of visiting privileges with family of friends each weekend.” I asked what she meant by generally speaking,” and she states, “there were more opportunities afforded jurors but not all took advantage.”
So, these visits were unsupervised. WFTV has dug into these visits, and what they found calls into question the verdict. As WFTV’s legal analyst, Bill Sheaffer, points out:
It only takes two seconds for an inappropriate comment to be made to a juror by a family member inadvertently or otherwise to possibly affect the verdict, how they look at the case.
The potential book was always intended to be a respectful observation of the trial from my and my husband’s perspectives…
Her husband holding a perspective strong enough to write a book on the subject, given unsupervised access during the trial to his wife on the jury. Juror B37 has also admitted that the decision was reached with information not presented at the trial itself.
This is a siren bell warning of jury tampering. And this is but one juror, how much was discussed with the other jurors. The failure to supervise has now resulted in a potential legal nightmare for the state of Florida, which can be held liable for failing to properly ensure an untampered jury. Add to it the money that juror B37 could anticipate from such a book deal, which would be worth far more if given a not-guilty verdict than otherwise, and we are looking at a potential post-trial jury payoff negotiated through the husband.
And the concerns over Juror B37 are far older than that apparent after the trial. In watching her jury interview, one finds a very concerning pattern. As discussed by legal expert Gail Brashers-Krug, a former federal prosecutor and law professor and who is currently a criminal defense attorney in Iowa:
She really wants to be a juror. She seems to be going out of her way to minimize the disruptive effect of a multiweek trial on her life. Jurors rarely do that. She is also taking pains to avoid saying anything particularly sympathetic to either side. Both sides tend to be very skeptical of jurors who are particularly eager to serve on high-profile cases. Often they have their own agendas, or are attention-seekers.
We find a juror with their own agenda, who managed to sneak her way onto the jury, with unsupervised access to an element harboring their own viewpoint and opinion, and who aimed to profit off of a non-guilty verdict. She had the means, by having access to her husband unsupervised. She had the motive, by profiting off of a book deal. And she had the opportunity by being on the jury in the first place.
George Zimmerman can’t get back the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin, but nothing is keeping him from purchasing another gun if he wants, Florida police said today.
Federal and local authorities said plans to return Zimmerman’s Kel Tec 9 pistol were put on hold after the Department of Justice announced a new investigation to determine whether Zimmerman violated 17-year-old Martin’s civil rights.
“The Department of Justice put a hold on all of the evidence in the case. The evidence will not be returned until such time as they release the hold,” said Sanford Police spokesman James McAuliffe.
McAuliffe, however, told ABC News that there is nothing legally preventing Zimmerman, who was acquitted in Martin’s murder on Saturday, from purchasing a new firearm.
“I do not believe that there is” any legal reason Zimmerman would not be able to purchase another gun, McAuliffe said.
Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury of six women who found he acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed teenager in February 2012.
The verdict produced an outcry ranging from Martin’s parents to protests in cities across the country. Zimmerman, 29, immediately went into hiding following the verdict.
On Sunday, Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara said Zimmerman was entitled to get the gun back and needed it “even more” than before his acquittal, given the controversy surrounding the case and frequent threats to his life.
“I think that he feels truly in his heart that if he did not have that weapon that night he might not be here…. [He] would have continued to get beat even though he was screaming for help,” O’Mara told ABC News in an exclusive interview last week.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder called Martin’s death “unnecessary” and vowed to proceed with a federal case.
Zimmerman’s attorney was travelling and not available for comment on the decision to retain all evidence pending DOJ orders. Zimmerman’s brother, Robert, also declined to talk about the gun.
Some left-wing news pundits like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson a Georgetown University professor, feel that President Obama needs to discuss the racial divide in this country which exacerbated after the Zimmerman verdict.
What they failed to remember was how his innocuous statement about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin drew right-wing ire . The President of the United States cannot address issues like the jury verdict, the racial divide in America and the perpetuation of such a divide. Given the visceral reaction and sharp divide by both political sides during the mostly peaceful demonstrations across the nation, this is not the time for such a speech. At least not by the POTUS.
When he made his infamous “race speech” in 2008 he was a presidential candidate. Today, if he made a similar speech it would certainly be divisive though not intentionally.
On the other hand, Attorney General Eric Holder became the POTUS surrogate on this matter when Holder made his speech about race and draconian gun laws to the NAACP earlier this week.
n 1999, a fresh-faced state senator on Chicago’s South Side heard constituents complain that police were free to pull over drivers because they were black. So Barack Obama proposed a bill to tackle racial profiling. When it failed, he revised it and proposed it again and again.
“Race and ethnicity is not an indicator of criminal activity,” Obama said when his bill finally passed the Senate four years later. He said targeting individuals based on race was humiliating and fostered contempt in black communities.
More than a decade later, Obama’s efforts to pass groundbreaking racial profiling legislation in Illinois offer some of the clearest clues as to how America’s first black president feels about an issue that’s polarizing a nation roiled by the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Obama has spoken only rarely about his own experience with incidents he perceived to be race-related. In his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope,” he described his struggles with the injustices of “driving while black” and the vigilance he felt was still necessary for him and his family.
“I can recite the usual litany of petty slights that during my 45 years have been directed my way: security guards tailing me as I shop in department stores, white couples who toss me their car keys as I stand outside a restaurant waiting for the valet, police cars pulling me over for no apparent reason,” Obama wrote.
Obama’s administration has treated gingerly the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot Martin. Burned in the past by injecting himself into racial flare-ups, Obama is wary of taking sides this time after, in his words, “a jury has spoken.”
While Martin’s family has said the teenager was racially profiled, race was barely mentioned during the nationally televised trial. Now that the state trial is over, the Justice Department is looking into Martin’s death to see whether civil rights charges can be filed. Federal prosecutors would have to show evidence Zimmerman was motivated by racial animosity to kill Martin.
The president, in his only public comments on the verdict, looked to the future, urging Americans to ask themselves how such tragedies can be prevented.
These days, it’s gun control that Obama cites. But as a young state senator, he and a few colleagues led a fight to require police to keep track of the demographics of drivers they pulled over — race, gender and age — then have those records analyzed to root out any patterns of bias. Diversity training was also part of the package, and another bill Obama pushed sought to prevent wrongful convictions by requiring police to videotape interrogations for crimes like homicide.
Emil Jones Jr., the state Senate’s president at the time, said he told Obama he was counting on him to shepherd the profiling bill, part of a broader judicial overhaul involving death penalty reform that Jones said was his top priority.
“It called on him to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle,” Jones said in an interview. “There was strong opposition from law enforcement on these issues. He was skillful enough to be able to get them on board.”
One of Obama’s key arguments to woo skeptical police groups was to say his legislation could actually exonerate fair-minded officers. Those unjustly accused of racial profiling would, for the first time, have evidence to show that wasn’t the case.
Both the racial profiling and videotaped interrogations bills eventually passed through the Legislature in 2003.
When it first became law, the data showed blacks and other minorities were being pulled over about three times as often as whites, said Craig Futterman, who sits on the statewide panel that oversees the law. These days, it’s down to about twice as often, he said.
“The fact that this data was being collected and monitored actually dramatically reduced racial profiling in Illinois,” said Futterman, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where Obama once taught. “It didn’t eliminate it — there are still unacceptable racial inequalities.”
In the Zimmerman case, civil rights leaders say Zimmerman racially profiled the unarmed teenager when he followed him through a gated community and shot him. But Zimmerman says Martin physically assaulted him and he shot the teenager in self-defense.
But across the U.S., as rallies crop up filled with protesters demanding justice for the teenager whose quest to buy Skittles ended in death, it’s not clear what steps the administration may take.
“I don’t have any process to announce today going forward,” said Jay Carney, Obama’s spokesman. He noted Obama’s work on the issue in Illinois and said Obama “believes it’s an issue worthy of consideration and action.”
Shortly following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) offered his advice for listeners displeased with the jury’s verdict.
Harris had joined the program to discuss the Affordable Care Act and impending votes in Congress, but the conversation shifted to Zimmerman, who was found not guilty in the 2012 shooting on Saturday.
When asked if he’d been following the heavily publicized courtroom drama, Harris denounced the media frenzy surrounding the case, expressing frustration that “with all the huge issues going on in the world, with unrest in the Middle East, [the public eye is] hung up on this one case where this one fellow was in fact found not guilty by a jury. That’s the way the American law system works,” he said. “Get over it.”
As the high profile case dominated the airwaves, many caught in its emotionally charged aftermath argued that merely “getting over it” is not an option.
“Trayvon had undeniable civil rights that are to be protected under the laws of this nation,” Sharpton said. “We must fight for those rights because he no longer can.”
During his WMAL appearance, however, Harris argued that intervention by the Department of Justice would be “purely political,” and would require lawmakers to “look at ways to rein in the Justice Department.”
“To consider going after a person who, under our system, has been found not guilty, is incredulous,” he said.