November 19, 2013

George Zimmerman allegedly threatens girlfriend with shotgun

He is charged with domestic aggravated assault in his fifth run-in with police since being acquitted of murder in July.

By Mike Schneider
The Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. — George Zimmerman’s arrest following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend marks the latest in a series of brushes with the law he has had since his acquittal in a murder case that sparked nationwide debates about race and self-defense laws.

click image to enlarge

This image provided by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office shows former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman after he was arrested Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, in Apopka, Fla. Authorities said they responded to a disturbance call at a house earlier in the day.

AP Photo/Seminole County Sheriff’s Office

Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of any charges in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, was charged Monday with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his 27-year-old girlfriend called 911. He was due in court Tuesday, where a judge would decide whether to grant bond for Zimmerman.

Samantha Scheibe claimed Zimmerman had smashed a glass table, threatened her with a shotgun and ultimately pushed her out of the house she rented.

Scheibe told deputies the ordeal started with a verbal argument and that she asked Zimmerman to leave the house. Her account in the arrest report says he began packing his belongings, including a shotgun and an assault rifle. She says she began putting his things in the living room and outside the house, and he became upset. At that point, the report says, he took the shotgun out of its case.

Zimmerman told his girlfriend to leave and smashed a pair of her sunglasses as she walked toward the front door, the report says. Scheibe told deputies he pushed her out of the house when she got close to the door.

“You point your gun at my fricking face,” Scheibe is heard telling Zimmerman on a 911 call. “Get out of my house. Do not push me out of my house. Please get out of my house.”

Seconds later, she told the dispatcher, “You kidding me? He pushed me out of my house and locked me out. ... He knows how to do this. He knows how to play this game.”

Moments later, Zimmerman called 911 from inside the barricaded house to tell his side of the story.

“I have a girlfriend, who for lack of a better word, has gone crazy on me,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman then said he never pulled a gun on his girlfriend and that it was she who smashed a table at the home they shared. He also told the dispatcher that Scheibe was pregnant with their child and that she had decided she would raise the child on her own. When Zimmerman started to leave, “she got mad,” he said.

Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said at a news conference that Scheibe wasn’t pregnant.

Deputies used a key provided by Scheibe to unlock the door and they were able to push through the barricade of items, Lemma said.

“She was very concerned for her own safety, especially having the weapon pointed at her and then being pushed out,” he said.

Lemma says Zimmerman was compliant and unarmed when deputies came to the house.

“The easiest way to describe it is rather passive. Clearly, he’s had the opportunity to encounter situations similar to this in the past,” Lemma said.

The arrest was the latest legal problem for Zimmerman since he was acquitted last summer of criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teen. The case sparked accusations that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin and led to nationwide debates over the so-called Stand Your Ground defense laws in Florida and other states.

Zimmerman, 30, who identifies himself as Hispanic, has said he shot the 17-year-old to defend himself during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando.

He wasn’t charged until 44 days after the shooting, leading to protests nationwide from people who believed he should have been immediately arrested. Demonstrations also broke out after his acquittal. Federal authorities are now reviewing the case the see if Martin’s civil rights were violated.

(Continued on page 2)

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