Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman stopped for speeding on Texas highway
Footage captured by a police dashboard shows Mr Zimmerman being pulled over in Dallas
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Thursday 01 August 2013
George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has been stopped for speeding on a Texas highway.
Police in Forney, 20 miles east of Dallas, confirmed Mr Zimmerman was pulled over on Sunday. A police dashboard video shows an officer speaking to the former neighbourhood watch volunteer. The officer can then be seen instructing Mr Zimmerman to reduce his speed before releasing him with a warning.
The unidentified officer asks Mr Zimmerman: "Where you headed this weekend?" After an inaudible response, the officer continues: "Nowhere in particular? Why you say that?"
"You didn't see my name?" Mr Zimmerman replies. The officer confirms that he has not and upon realising his identity, he asks if he is clear of warrants, to which Mr Zimmerman replies "absolutely sir".
Mr Zimmerman then says something else unintelligible and the officer responds: "Calm down man, you're good."
The officer then tells him: "I'm going to go back (to check his licence), and why don't you slow down a little bit for me. We'll let you off with a warning."
After another unintelligible response from Mr Zimmerman, the officer says: "Just take it easy. Go ahead and shut your glove compartment. Don't play with your firearm."
Despite the officer's comments indicating Mr Zimmerman had a gun, a weapon cannot be seen in the footage and it is not clear if he was in possession of one. The gun used in Trayvon Martin's shooting remains in the custody of the US government, which is looking into a possible civil rights case.
Mr Zimmerman had a concealed weapons permit in Florida that would be also recognised under Texas law.
After returning Mr Zimmerman's driving licence, the officer says: "All right, sir. Slow down." He wishes Mr Zimmerman a safe trip.
The speed limit on that stretch of road is 60mph, but police records do not state the speed at which Mr Zimmerman was driving, according to Forney City Manager Brian Brooks. Police handled Mr Zimmerman as they would have any other motorist in a comparable situation and gave him no special treatment, Mr Brooks added.
Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for Mr Zimmerman's legal team, said they had not been able to confirm the account of the police stop independently, but said he had no reason not to believe the report.
"Any time his life intersects with anyone now, somehow that's news," Mr Vincent said. "How many people, when they get a warning, become a national headline?"
Mr Vincent would not discuss what Mr Zimmerman was doing in Texas or reveal any information concerning his current location, citing safety concerns.
Mr Zimmerman's acquittal on July 13 prompted nationwide rallies calling for a civil rights probe and federal charges against him.
The death of Trayvon, 17, in Sanford, Florida, sparked national debate about equal justice, racial profiling, gun control and self-defence laws.
Protesters lashed out against police in Sanford after it took 44 days for Mr Zimmerman to be arrested. Many, including Trayvon's parents, said Mr Zimmerman had racially profiled the teenager. Mr Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic.
The only other time Mr Zimmerman has been seen in public since his acquittal was when he helped rescue four people from an overturned vehicle following a road accident in suburban Orlando.
Additional reporting by agencies
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