George Zimmerman’s estranged wife Shellie Zimmerman called police Monday, saying that her husband had punched her father in the face and that he was threatening them with a gun. It is the most recent evidence of tensions between Shellie Zimmerman and her husband, who was acquitted two months ago in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin after a widely controversial murder trial.
A few hours later, however, Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, told police that she did not see a weapon, and authorities will not press charges against her husband:
Monday’s dispute involving the Zimmermans isn’t uncommon for a couple in the midst of a divorce, said his attorney, Mark O’Mara, who led the defense team that secured the jury’s not-guilty verdict. He said his client never threatened anyone with a gun and never punched his father-in-law.
Shellie Zimmerman had collected most of her belongings from the house where both she and George had been staying until she moved out. But she had returned unexpectedly Monday to gather the remaining items and emotions got out of control, O’Mara said. Police talked to everyone about what happened, but neither side is pressing charges and no one was arrested.
“I know the 911 tape suggests that Shellie was saying something but I think that was heightened emotions,” O’Mara said. “There may have been some pushing and touching. That happens a lot in divorce situations. ... Nobody was injured.” . . .
Prosecutors, though, could still build a case based on surveillance video from cameras outside the house and also video from the squad cars of officers who responded. Florida law allows police officers to arrest someone for domestic violence without the consent of the victim.
But for the time being, “domestic violence can’t be invoked because she has changed her story and says she didn’t see a firearm,” [Lake Mary, Fla. Police Chief Steve] Bracknell said . . .
George Zimmerman has been involved with a domestic case at least once before. In 2005, Zimmerman’s former fiancee filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against his then-fiancee.
For opinion writer Jonathan Capehart, the recording of Shellie Zimmerman’s call to police recalled memories of the trial. He writes that although George Zimmerman appears to have a pattern of violent behavior, he has never faced legal consequences for it:
“I’m really, really afraid,” she said. “I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared.” At one point, she yells at her father to “get back inside; George might start shooting at us.”
Listening to the call, my thoughts went to Witness No. 9 in the Zimmerman case. She was the relative who called the Sanford Police Department just days after Zimmerman killed Trayvon on Feb. 26, 2012. During the call, she accused Zimmerman of being a racist, saying, “He would start something. He’s a very confrontational person. It’s in his blood. Let’s just say that.” . . .
Since Zimmerman was acquitted in July, he has been in the news for touring the headquarters of the manufacturer of the gun he used to kill Trayvon and for two speeding violations. He was let off with a warning each time. Today, Zimmerman was not arrested, but he was questioned by police. And because Shellie and her father have declined to press charges against Zimmerman, he was free to go. “We have no victim, no crime,” Lake Mary police chief Steve Bracknell said.
The night Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon he called the non-emergency line at the Sanford, Fla., police department. “These [expletive], they always get away,” he said. Just a little bit of history repeating, I suppose.
For more on George Zimmerman’s relationship with his wife, continue reading here.
See Monday’s news in photos from around the world in the gallery below.