August 1, 2013

George Zimmerman stopped for speeding in Texas

Cleared in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the neighborhood watch volunteer did not get a ticket.

The Associated Press

FORNEY, Texas - George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was cleared of all charges in the Florida shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, was stopped for speeding on a highway near Dallas, officials said Wednesday.

click image to enlarge

A video provided by the Forney, Texas, police department, shows an officer speaking with George Zimmerman after he was pulled over about 20 miles east of Dallas on Sunday.

The Associated Press

George Zimmerman
click image to enlarge

George Zimmerman

The Associated Press

Forney police stopped Zimmerman on Sunday as he drove west on U.S. 80, about 20 miles east of Dallas. A police dashcam video released Wednesday shows an officer interacting with Zimmerman after pulling him over.

The officer, who was not identified, asks Zimmerman, "Where you headed this weekend?"

After an unintelligible response, the officer asks, "Nowhere in particular? Why you say that?"

"You didn't see my name?" Zimmerman replies.

"Nuh-uh," the officer says.

"What a coincidence!" the officer adds. "Are you clear of warrants and stuff?"

"Absolutely sir," Zimmerman says.

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 license), and why don't you slow down a little bit for me. We'll let you off with a warning."

After an unintelligible response from Zimmerman, the officer says, "Just take it easy. Go ahead and shut your glove compartment. Don't play with your firearm."

Although the officer's comments indicated Zimmerman had a gun, a weapon can't be seen and it's not clear from the video that he did. The gun used in Martin's shooting remains in the custody of the federal government, which is looking into a possible civil rights case.

After returning Zimmerman's license, the officer says, "All right, sir. Slow down." He wishes Zimmerman a safe trip.

The traffic stop was first reported by TMZ.

Police records do not show how fast Zimmerman was driving, City Manager Brian Brooks said. Police handled Zimmerman as they would have any other motorist in a comparable situation and gave him no special treatment, Brooks said.

The city manager repeatedly declined to identify the officer involved in the traffic stop.

"He obviously didn't expect to pull over George Zimmerman. I don't think he wants the notoriety," Brooks said.

Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for Zimmerman's legal team, said the attorneys had not been able to confirm the account of Zimmerman's road stop independently, but he said he had no reason not to believe the report.

"Anytime his life intersects with anyone now, somehow that's news," Vincent said. "How many people, when they get a warning, become a national headline?"

Vincent would not discuss what Zimmerman was doing in Texas or say anything about Zimmerman's current location, citing safety concerns.

Zimmerman's acquittal on July 13 prompted rallies nationwide calling for a civil rights probe and federal charges against him.

Last year's shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teen, initiated a national dialogue about equal justice, racial profiling, gun control and self-defense laws.

 

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