KEY POINTS

  • Zimmerman claims Buttigieg and Warren defamed him in their tweets
  • Both candidates tweeted about Trayvon Martin without naming Zimmerman
  • Lawsuit is asking for $15,000 in damages

George Zimmerman recently filed a lawsuit against two Democratic presidential nomination hopefuls over claims that they linked him to “racism” on Twitter.

Earlier this month, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted that had Trayvon Martin not been killed he would have turned 25. In his tweet, the candidate asked, “How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear? #BlackLivesMatter.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., posted a similar tweet, in which she said that Martin “should still be with us today” and that “we need to end gun violence and racism” and “to build a world where all of our children – especially young Black boys – can grow up safe and free.”

In 2012, Zimmerman was charged and later acquitted of homicide in Sanford, Fla., after fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed after Zimmerman physically confronted the 17-year-old; Zimmerman has long maintained that although Martin was unarmed at the time, he had acted in self-defense. The incident gained national attention and sparked outcries over the jury’s refusal to convict Zimmerman.

In his lawsuit, Zimmerman claims both of the tweets written by Buttigieg and Warren were referring to him, though they did not mention him by name; in his lawsuits, he argues that the candidates slandered him by linking him to “white supremacy” and “racism” in the eyes of their millions of Twitter followers, according to the Miami Herald.

In his 30-page lawsuit, Zimmerman also made frequent references to Martin, characterizing him as a delinquent student who was “often getting into fights” at school and as a frequent user of marijuana. He also mentioned the fact that Martin had been kicked out of his mother’s home. The lawsuit also describes Zimmerman as a “Hispanic minority advocate and Obama supporter.”

Zimmerman is seeking $15,000 in damages from both Buttigieg and Warren.

Late last year, Zimmerman also filed a lawsuit against various individuals involved with his 2012 trial, including Martin’s family and the trial prosecutors. He alleged that he was indicted and tried based on false evidence and asked for $100 million in damage compensation.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, seen here during a Democratic debate October 15, 2019 alongside South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has surged to a lead in the early caucus state of Iowa Senator Elizabeth Warren, seen here during a Democratic debate October 15, 2019 alongside South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has surged to a lead in the early caucus state of Iowa Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / WIN MCNAMEE