The Washington Post

Zimmerman’s appalling and irrelevant sexual assault

George Zimmerman’s attorney didn’t want the damaging statement of “Witness 9” released. With good reason. From when he was 8 years old until he was 18, the killer of Trayvon Martin allegedly molested a female relative two years younger than he. It’s a gasp-worthy revelation in an ongoing story filled with them. But it’s totally irrelevant to the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman faces.

Last week, I took umbrage with readers who insist on using Trayvon’s past to justify Zimmerman’s shooting him. Much of the information they rely on is false, especially the fake photos. Some of it is true, such as the suspensions from school and the pot use. And yet none of it was relevant as Zimmerman didn’t know anything about Trayvon when he shot him on Feb. 26.

The same standard applies to molestation allegations against Zimmerman.

My heart goes out to “Witness 9.” She suffered abuse that she says traumatized her, and she suffered in silence. It wasn’t until 2005 that she said she told her sister. Zimmerman was later confronted at a pizzeria in Florida. He apologized and left. These allegations brand Zimmerman a predator and a creep. But they aren’t relevant to Zimmerman’s current predicament.  

Here’s what is relevant: his 2005 arrest for “resisting officer with violence”; the restraining order his ex-fiance filed against him citing domestic violence; and Zimmerman’s 46 calls to police over the last eight years reporting what he saw as suspicious activity involving black males.

“Witness 9” did tell authorities one thing that might be relevant. She said that Zimmerman and his family said disparaging things about African Americans. She said the Zimmermans “only like black people if they act like white people.” George Zimmerman’s mindset about blacks on the night of Feb. 26 is more pertinent in this case than his alleged abuse. But even that ultimately doesn’t matter. As Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon’s parents, told CNN on Friday, “None of that matters to why this armed watchman with a 9 mm gun got out of his car and chased an unarmed teenager and shot him in the heart.”

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained