George Zimmerman Charged With Aggravated Assault of Girlfriend
Nov. 18, 2013
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George Zimmerman is in a Florida prison cell awaiting his first appearance before a judge Tuesday near the same courthouse where he was acquitted this summer of murdering Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman, 30, was arrested today after a "domestic disturbance" with his girlfriend. He now faces a felony charge of aggravated assault and the lesser charges of battery domestic violence and criminal mischief.
Zimmerman's girlfriend, who the Seminole County Sheriff's Office identified as Samantha Scheibe, told a 911 dispatcher that the incident began when the former neighborhood watch captain grew upset during an argument and brandished a weapon at her.
"He's in my house, breaking all my s--- because I asked him to leave," Scheibe told the dispatcher. "He's got a freaking gun breaking all my stuff right now."
Scheibe said Zimmerman then pushed her out the home that they have shared ever since Zimmerman became estranged with his wife and locked her out. Authorities said when they arrived Scheibe gave them keys to the home, and that they had to push through obstacles by the door to get in.
"When we arrived, the victim indicated that she and George Zimmerman were having a verbal dispute and at that time she alleged that he had broken a table and pointed a long-barrel shotgun at her," Seminole County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma said at a news conference.
However, Zimmerman tells a different tale. He told police in a separate 911 call that she instigated the incident.
"My girlfriend has ... for lack of a better word, gone crazy on me," said Zimmerman while police knocked on the door trying to speak with him.
"The police is already there and so why are you calling? What happened?" the dispatcher asked.
Zimmerman replied, "I just want everyone to know the truth."
In Zimmerman's 911 call he says his "pregnant" girlfriend instigated the altercation and that no guns were used. Police later noted that his girlfriend was not pregnant.
"I never pulled a firearm. I never displayed it. When I was packing it I'm sure she saw it. I keep it next to the bed," Zimmerman said.
He said he agreed to leave the house to diffuse a tense conversation, and at first she agreed but then became upset.
"When she changed, she just started smashing stuff. Taking stuff that belonged to me. Throwing it outside. Throwing it out of her room. Throwing it all over the house. She broke a glass table," said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman appeared hesitant to speak with officers who were trying to get in the home.
Dispatcher: Is she still outside with the officers now? Zimmerman: I don't know ma'am. I'm inside. Dispatcher: You're inside? And you're still not willing to go out and speak with the officers? Zimmerman: I can talk to one of the officers. But I don't want to go outside.
Zimmerman asked to speak with an officer on the phone. He was unarmed when police got to him and "rather passive," Lemma said. He offered no resistance and was taken into custody. He is being held without bond and if a judge decides to let him go free, authorities have requested that he once again be outfitted with an electronic monitoring device.
Late Monday night police were seen removing what looked like evidence from the home.
A spokesman for lawyer Mark O'Mara, who represented Zimmerman in the murder trial, noted that O'Mara "is not representing George Zimmerman in today's matter or any new matters, and as such it is not appropriate for him to make any comments."
Monday's incident is Zimmerman's latest run in with the law since his acquittal in Martin's death.
In September, he was released after being arrested without charges after his wife called 911 to say Zimmerman punched his father-in-law in the nose and threatened to shoot him and his wife.
Zimmerman claimed that he was acting in a "defensive manner" during the incident, according to police, who later added that they never found a gun on Zimmerman.
He has also been pulled over for speeding, once in July and once in September. During the July incident, he alerted the officer that he had a gun in his glove compartment.
On July 18, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of a family who became trapped inside their Ford Explorer after it rolled over on the side of the highway.
By the time police arrived, two people -- including Zimmerman -- helped the family get out of the overturned car, according to the sheriff's office.
Zimmerman became a controversial figure when he shot and killed unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin. He was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.
Zimmerman conceded he shot and killed Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012, but maintained he fired in self-defense. His acquittal caused widespread anger.
Though Zimmerman's defense did not invoke the "stand your ground" law, the case sparked a national debate about race and "stand your ground" laws, which exist in at least 22 states. Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, testified on Capitol Hill in October that "stand your ground" laws must be reviewed and amended.
Zimmerman has a concealed carry permit in Florida that was re-instated after the trial, making him legally entitled to transport and possess a weapon in most states.