George Zimmerman arrested on charges of armed aggravated assault

Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 for the murder of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin

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The Independent US

George Zimmerman, the one-time neighbourhood watch volunteer from central Florida acquitted of the 2013 murder of an unarmed black teenager, was arrested last night for an alleged armed aggravated assault.

Zimmerman, 31, was arrested at 10.10pm on Friday evening on charges of aggravated assault with a weapon and was refused bail, according to the Lake Mary Police Department, Seminole, Florida.

He appeared before a court at 9am this morning where a county judge set a $5,000 bond.

Don West, Zimmerman’s lawyer, claimed that his client threw a wine bottle during the incident reported US local news station Bay9News.

“It will most likely be a domestic violence charge,” commented Kim Cannaday, a spokesperson for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office prior to Zimmerman’s court appearance.

Zimmerman is due back in court at 1.30pm 17 February.

Mr Zimmerman has had repeated brushes with the law since his acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old he confronted and shot in a private housing community in Sanford, Florida.  The trial spawned a national debate about so-called stand-your-ground laws that in some states provide legal protection for those opening fire on an assailant if they feel threatened.

Mr Zimmerman’s closely watched trial two years ago also sparked an anguished debate in America about race - he is Hispanic white and Mr Martin was black – and whether a lower value is placed on black lives.  The issue roared back to the political front-burner in the second half of last year when two grand juries declined to indict white police officers who had killed unarmed black men. 

Since his acquittal, Mr Zimmerman has come to the attention of the authorities on a number of occasions.

 

In November last year, police officers were called to a home in Apopka after Zimmerman is alleged to have cocked and pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend Samantha Schiebe. He barricaded himself inside, but surrendered peacefully a few minutes after officers’ arrival.

Zimmerman was arrested on charges of domestic violence, aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. Ms Schiebe did not cooperate with officers and prosecutors did not pursue the case.

Prior to this incident, he was accused by his former wife Shellie Zimmerman – who had filed divorce papers days earlier – of smashing an ipod and the possession a gun during an argument in their home. She later withdrew the charges.

He has also been pulled over three times for traffic violations since 2013.

Don West did not respond to requests for comment.

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