Zimmerman's family: George handed out fliers, protesting police coddling of white suspect
George Zimmerman handed out fliers at black Sanford churches a year ago, outraged that a white police lieutenant's son, captured on video sucker-punching a homeless black man, was not arrested on the spot, family members said.
The fliers urged people to attend a Sanford City Commission meeting and demand that the police chief be held accountable.
George Zimmerman is the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in a Sanford neighborhood five weeks ago.
Civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the national president of the NAACP have traveled to Central Florida, calling Trayvon a victim of racial profiling and demanding that Zimmerman be arrested.
Zimmerman had spotted Trayvon walking through his neighborhood, called police and describing him as suspicious. He then followed the teenager and several minutes later, the two got into a fist fight, and Zimmerman pulled out his 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and killed the teen.
Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman, saying they did not have enough evidence to disprove his claim of self defense.
That decision set off a storm of protest. Marchers have held rallies in Sanford, Miami, Tallahassee, Los Angeles, New York, London and several other cities. Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor, and the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation to determine whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon's civil rights.
Zimmerman's attorneys and father say he's not a racist.
As proof of that, Robert Zimmerman last night told Hannity that his son handed out fliers, protesting the way a homeless black man was treated by Sanford police in 2010.
Sherman Ware, who is black, was standing on the sidewalk when Justin Collison, who is white and the son of a Sanford police lieutenant, came rushing out of a Sanford bar Dec. 4 and punched him in the back of the head.
The blow knocked Ware out and sent him to the hospital. The incident was captured on video by a bystander with a cell phone, and although police saw the video that night, they made no arrest.
Orlando-area news organizations aired the video, prompting calls for Collison's arrest and the ouster of Sanford Police Chief Brian Tooley.
George Zimmerman on Jan. 2 handed out fliers at black Sanford churches, urging them to go to City Hall and demand that Tooley be held accountable, according to family members.
The following day the commission voted to oust the police chief, and Collison was arrested.
He pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of battery and was sentenced to a year of probation.
Ironically, Tonetta Foster, the sister of Sherman Ware, the man punched by Collison, took part in a Trayvon rally March 19 at the Seminole Criminal courthouse at which protesters called for Zimmerman's arrest.
"I stand for justice for Trayvon, for Sherman Ware," she said.
A lawyer for Trayvon's family, Natalie Jackson, represented Ware. She said she did not believe Zimmerman handed out any fliers. She called the family's account "race baiting".