George Zimmerman's brother talks about Trayvon Martin shooting death

Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012 @ 11:42 PM
Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 @ 5:43 AM

For the first time, the brother of George Zimmerman is speaking out on national television about the night Trayvon Martin was killed.

Robert Zimmerman Jr. appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Thursday night and said his brother is devastated by the killing. He also said that 17-year-old Martin picked the fight with 28-year-old George Zimmerman.

Robert said when his brother and Martin started fighting it became a matter of life and death. He said his brother could've easily been killed by Martin because the teen was going for his gun.

"He stopped someone from disarming him and shooting him. He didn't pull out a gun and shoot him," said Robert Zimmerman. "Nobody stood there with Skittles and an iced tea. You return force with force when somebody assaults you."

Robert denies his younger brother chased Martin and he stands by George's claim of self-defense.

"This fantasy, or mythology, that he chased a person is absolutely false," said Robert Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman claims Martin punched him in the nose and bashed his head on the ground, but in video WFTV obtained from the Sanford Police Department, he does not appear to have any injuries.

Robert was also asked about the video and he said there are visible injuries.

"To me, his nose looks swollen in that video. I'm his brother," said Robert Zimmerman. "A lot of these injuries take 36 hours to show."

Since last month's shooting Robert said his brother has been in hiding and is traumatized.

"He has very severe emotional injuries. He's been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Robert.

He also says his entire Zimmerman family has received death threats and some people have even mistaken Robert for George because the two look alike.

Robert Zimmerman also called his brother a neighbor everybody would want to have. He said the backlash that's happened is a "carnival of hatred."

"The people who love and support George respect the legal system," said Robert Zimmerman.

A new witness has come forward to talk about what he says he saw just after George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

"He didn't appear hurt or anything else. He just kind of seemed very, I guess very worried or whatever. He walked on the sidewalk at that point with his hand up to his forehead," said the witness.

The witness did not want to reveal his identity during the national interview. He is one of six witnesses police talked to after the incident.

The mortician who prepared Martin's body last month has spoken out. He said he only saw the boy's gunshot wound in the chest and that Martin had no other bruises or injuries.

"I did not see any markings on the body that would indicate to me that he had been in a scuffle or fight," said Richard Kurtz, of Roy Mizell & Kurtz Funeral Home.

Martin's autopsy has not been released because it's part of the ongoing investigation.

Film director, Spike Lee, has settled with a central Florida couple after he used Twitter to post the wrong home address of George Zimmerman.

This is the message, that Lee re-tweeted last week: "The address is actually the home of a Sanford couple in their seventies who say they've been terrorized by the incident."

Lee apologized to the couple for the error. Details of the settlement have not been released.

President Trump calls widow of fallen soldier, reportedly tells her he knew ‘what he signed up for’

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 11:41 PM

US President Donald Trump (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump reportedly told the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that “he knew what he signed up for...” in a call Tuesday afternoon according to WPLG.

>> Read more trending news

Johnson’s body, one of the four Army servicemen killed in action in Niger on Oct. 4, returned to the United States Tuesday. The flight bearing Johnson’s remains landed at Miami International Airport, according to WPLG.

The plane was met by Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Also present was an honor guard and local politicians.

Trump called Johnson to offer his condolences, telling her that her fallen husband “knew what he signed up for,” adding that “when it happens it hurts anyway,” a congresswoman who said she was present for the call said.

That response is generating some controversy, with some saying the president was unnecessarily callous and blunt. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., said she heard the call with Trump and couldn’t believe her ears.

“It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Also killed in action on Oct. 4 were Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and four soldiers from Niger, according to the New York Daily News. Two other Americans were wounded.

Taliban hostage rescued after 5 years in captivity didn't believe Trump was president

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 3:33 AM

Caitlan Coleman, Family Rescued After Being Held Prisoner by Terrorists in Afghanistan

A Canadian man who had been held in Afghanistan for five years by Taliban-tied kidnappers revealed that he thought his kidnapper was joking when he said Donald Trump was president of the United States.

Joshua Boyle said one of his captors told him Trump was president just before he was forced to film a “proof-of-life” video, according to the Toronto Star.

>> Read more trending news

“It didn’t enter my mind that he was being serious,” Boyle said.

The Boyle family, including Joshua, his American-born wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children, who were all born in captivity, were rescued by Pakistani forces after U.S. intelligence informed them of the of the family’s location.

The family was in the trunk of a car being transferred to another location when their kidnappers engaged in a shootout with Pakistani forces. Some of their kidnappers died in the fight while others fled, but the entire family made it to safety.

Here’s why travelers from 22 states could face conflict with domestic flights in 2018

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 4:19 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 10:03 PM

The deadline is approaching for nearly two dozen states that have yet to update state IDs in compliance with the REAL ID Act, which was passed in 2005.

As a result, residents in those states may have to present a valid U.S. passport or other identification -- instead of previously used driver’s licenses or IDs -- to travel within the U.S. and beyond. 

>> Read more trending news 

Travelers who live in the following states could be affected: 

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina 
  • Washington

Residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands could also be affected, as could those from Virginia.

The REAL ID Act, which “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, ... established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the act’s minimum standards,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. The act came after 9/11 as an effort to ensure safer travel within the U.S. 

According to consumer expert Clark Howard, despite the fact that Congress passed the act more than 10 years ago, enforcement of the new regulations wasn’t pushed until 2013.

Twenty-six states have provided residents with federally compliant driver’s licenses or IDs. 

For those that have not, beginning Jan. 22, other forms of identification that will be accepted by Transportation Security Administration at airports for travelers living in the above listed states will be a permanent resident card/green card or a military ID. Other forms of acceptable identification are listed on the official TSA website.

Those who visit airports starting Jan. 22 without acceptable identification will not be allowed through airport security.

Some states have started working to provide residents with other forms of federally approved identification that would allow travelers to avoid ordering a passport for domestic travel, Forbes reported. For example, those in Washington have the option to apply for enhanced driver’s licenses, which adhere to the REAL ID Act specifications but cost significantly more than regular IDs.

Travelers are encouraged to check with local government officials for any potential options. 

Some of the states under review are scrambling to update state IDs to meet compliance standards in the next three months, and others have requested REAL ID compliance extensions from the Department of Homeland Security. Virginia residents have been granted an extension for REAL ID enforcement until Oct. 10, 2018. Budget shortages have delayed some states, including Oklahoma, from making the ID updates. 

Despite all extensions, there is a hard deadline for states to require compliant REAL IDs: Oct. 1, 2020.

“There are no anticipated changes to the enforcement schedule, and we are tracking that by 2020, 15 years after this act has been passed, that DHS will require that all states are compliant with Real ID as per federal law,” DHS spokeswoman Justine Whelan said, according to The Washington Post

“It is a critically important 9/11 Commission recommendation that others have been willing to ignore, but I will not,” John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s former homeland security secretary and current chief of staff, said in June. “I will ensure it is implemented on schedule -- with no extension -- for states that are not taking it seriously.”

Those who live in one of the states that do not have TSA-compliant IDs may want to consider ordering a passport sooner rather than later. It generally takes four to six weeks to process passport orders, according to the Department of State.

Read more here and here.

A previous version of this story reported travelers in nine states would potentially need passports or other forms of identification for domestic flights in 2018.

325-pound Florida woman accused of killing child by sitting on her

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 4:41 PM

325-Pound Florida Woman Accused Of Killing Child By Sitting On Her

A Florida woman is accused of killing her 9-year-old cousin after the woman sat on the child as a form of punishment. 

The 325-pound woman, identified as 64-year-old Veronica Green Posey, was charged with homicide and cruelty toward a child, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Posey sat on the girl, Dericka Lindsay, Saturday after she said the girl misbehaved, said a report by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Pensacola News Journal, Dericka’s parents, Grace Joan Smith and James Edmund Smith, sought Posey’s help Saturday in punishing the child.

Posey, who said that Dericka was “out of control,” first struck the girl with a ruler and a metal pipe before Dericka ran to an armchair, authorities said.

Posey sat on top of Dericka in the chair for about 10 minutes before the girl complained that she could not breathe, the girl’s father told police. When Posey stood up about two minutes later, she discovered the child unresponsive. Posey called 911 and began performing CPR.

Paramedics who responded to the call found Dericka unresponsive and transported her to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, the News Journal reported.

Grace and James Smith were arrested and charged with child neglect for not reporting the alleged abuse. Grace Smith was also charged with cruelty toward a child. 

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Smiths had previously had an incident with the agency involving their daughter’s welfare.

Posey, whose bail was set at $125,000, was released from jail Monday. Her aunt and uncle remained in jail.

See more at the Pensacola News Journal.