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Americas

George Zimmerman arrested for domestic violence

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-19

George Zimmerman, the former neighbourhood watch volunteer acquitted of fatally shooting unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin earlier this year, was arrested on Monday after allegedly threatening his girlfriend with a shotgun during an argument.

George Zimmerman, who was acquitted this summer in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was charged with assault on Monday after he allegedly pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend during a domestic dispute, police said.

Zimmerman was involved in an altercation at the house in central Florida he shares with his girlfriend, Seminole County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma told reporters. Zimmerman, 30, was taken to a jail in Sanford, Florida, and faces three charges including aggravated assault, a felony, as well as two misdemeanors, domestic violence battery and criminal mischief, Lemma said.

He is being held in jail without bond and is due to appear in court on Wednesday.

Samantha Scheibe, Zimmerman’s 27-year-old girlfriend, told police that the pair had been arguing when he grabbed a shotgun and pointed it at her, broke a glass table and pushed her out the door. He then barricaded the door with furniture, Lemma said. Scheibe was not injured during the incident.

Scheibe provided deputies with a key to the home and they were able to push open the door that had been barricaded. Lemma said Zimmmerman cooperated when deputies came to the house. “The easiest way to describe it is rather passive. He’s had the opportunity to encounter this before,” he said.

Authorities believe at least two weapons were in the house at the time.

Anger management

Zimmerman, a former neighbourhood watch captain, was acquitted on July 13 of murdering Martin, who he shot dead in February 2012 as the 17-year-old walked back to the townhouse where he was staying after buying snacks at a nearby convenience store.

The death of the black teenager, who was unarmed, sparked a nationwide debate about race and self-defence. Zimmerman, who identifies as Hispanic, has said he shot Martin to defend himself during a fight.

He wasn’t charged until 44 days after the shooting, leading to nationwide protests from people who believed he should have been immediately arrested. The case sparked accusations that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin, and demonstrations broke out again after his acquittal.

Federal authorities are now reviewing the case to see if Martin’s civil rights were violated.

Zimmerman has had other brushes with the law since his acquittal. In September, he was questioned by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he had threatened her with a gun. He was not charged in the incident, which occurred a week after she filed for divorce.

Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic offences; two of them speeding.

In 2005, Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman’s friend.

Later that year, Zimmerman’s former fiancée filed for a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against her.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-11-19

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