George Zimmerman, the Florida man acquitted of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin, says he lives in constant fear and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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He also suggested that President Obama helped to inject racism into the controversial shooting in order to win votes for himself during his reelection.
Zimmerman’s comments in a Spanish-language interview with Univision that aired Sunday marked his first public statements since being acquitted of murder in the Feb. 26, 2012 death of Martin.
The Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Martin, 17, after Zimmerman testified that the teenager knocked him down, banged his head on the concrete sidewalk, and then tried to grab Zimmerman's gun.
Zimmerman, 30, told Univision that he lives in a constant state of fear, needing bodyguards and bullet-proof vests, and that he suffers from PTSD. In a separate interview aired today on CNN, Zimmerman said he still gets death threats.
"I have a lot of people saying that, you know, they guarantee that they're going to kill me and I'll never be a free man," he told CNN.
Zimmerman blames many of his woes on “unfair” media coverage and said even the president contributed to his problems. He cited Obama's comments after the shooting that Martin, “Could have been my son.” Zimmerman believes that Obama spoke about the racially-sensitive case in order to win more votes.
The former neighborhood watch captain said he is broke, owes his lawyers $2.5 million and has no chance of getting a job. He has recently started selling paintings and the first one went for $100,000.
Despite the turmoil of his life, Zimmerman said he has no regrets about pulling the trigger.
“In my mind between God and me … I know that if I did not act the way I acted, I would not be here,” he told Univision. “When you hit your head repeatedly against the concrete, you have a broken nose, eyes full of blood and tears, you’re not in the position to do much.”
After firing at Martin was initially worried that the bullet had missed the teenager and gone into a neighbor’s house.
Instead, the argument ended “immediately,” he said, with Martin fatally wounded.
Following the acquittal, Zimmerman has faced a myriad of legal problems, including accusations of domestic violence from his girlfriend, although charges were later dropped, several traffic stops, and a pending divorce from his wife, Shelly.
Zimmerman just wants to find his new normal, to move on with his life. He even aspires to be a lawyer.
“Honestly, I [would] love to live a calm life without being in the press. I’d like [to be treated like] any American citizen, to [get] a ticket for going at high speed or having an argument with his wife, if the police come and not have everyone aware,” he said. “But that, as I said, that’s my life and I do not understand why that is. But I’m living my life as I have always lived.”