Skip to main content

George Zimmerman's brother apologizes for offensive tweets

By Dana Ford, CNN
updated 10:33 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "I'm a human being ... I made a mistake," says Robert Zimmerman Jr.
  • He tweets side-by-side images of Trayvon Martin and De'Marquise Elkins
  • Elkins is accused of killing a baby in his stroller in Georgia
  • Zimmerman says he was trying to make a larger point about the media

(CNN) -- Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, apologized for his controversial and offensive tweets.

In one, Zimmerman juxtaposed a photograph of Martin with one of 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins, one of two teenagers charged with killing a baby in Georgia.

Both Elkins and Martin appear to be flipping off the camera.

"A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?" the tweet reads.

In another tweet, Zimmerman writes: "Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky."

A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year: A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year:
Trayvon Martin evidence
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Photos: Trayvon Martin evidence Photos: Trayvon Martin evidence
Memorials to Trayvon Martin grow daily outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated Sanford, Florida, community where neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen February 26. The death has sparked protests across the country and brought unwanted attention to Sanford, a town north of Orlando. Memorials to Trayvon Martin grow daily outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated Sanford, Florida, community where neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen February 26. The death has sparked protests across the country and brought unwanted attention to Sanford, a town north of Orlando.
Stigma for town in Trayvon Martin killing
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
Stigma for town in Trayvon Martin killing Stigma for town in Trayvon Martin killing

Speaking on CNN's Piers Morgan Live on Wednesday night, he apologized for the messages, saying they weren't the "right thing to do."

"I realize those were controversial and offensive and I did publicly apologize for them," he said. "I'm a human being. I'm being upfront about what I did. I made a mistake ... Unfortunately (it) may not have helped George."

5 things to know about the case

His brother, George Zimmerman, has been charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman acknowledged shooting Martin but said it was in self-defense. Attorneys for Martin's family have accused Zimmerman of racially profiling Martin and shooting him "in cold blood."

Robert Zimmerman Jr. said he was trying to make a larger point in his tweets about the "media and their honesty in portraying the person who encountered my brother February 26, 2012.

Letters to Zimmerman show split opinions

"We've been led to believe that it's a junior-high-school-aged person because of the pictures," he said, referring to Martin.

"The analogy is these are two people who chose to represent themselves in this way. One was accused of killing a baby, and whatever's in his social media makes the rounds immediately ... However, the other person who almost killed my brother had he disarmed him -- my brother had every indication to believe he would have killed him -- his social media is off limits."

Chief witness in Martin case lied under oath

Zimmerman's tweets prompted a response from his brother's defense team.

Attorney Mark O'Mara told CNN's "Starting Point" Thursday morning that Robert Zimmerman doesn't represent his brother or his defense.

"Having said that, I'm not sure where (Robert's) heart was, but I've always said for the past year that we have to have a conversation about race, and the Zimmerman case has brought it to the forefront, particularly the way young black males are treated in the system," O'Mara said. "These type of tweets ... were insensitive to that, and quite honestly are the opposite of what I hope the conversation would be to try and figure out what's wrong with the system and maybe a good way to fix it."

O'Mara said he worries about how Robert Zimmerman's tweets will affect George's case.

"Everything that happens in this case is, if not overblown, hyper-focused upon, so that everything that George says or does is important," O'Mara said "... And certainly when a family member of my client says something that comes across as totally insensitive -- if not much, much worse -- (it) has an effect, and now we have to deal with it."

Opinion: Trayvon Martin did not die in vain

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
George Zimmerman
updated 8:50 PM EST, Wed February 5, 2014
Let's get ready to ... mumble.
updated 8:35 PM EST, Fri January 24, 2014
George Zimmerman, who sold his first painting on eBay for a whopping $100,000, is at it again.
updated 2:41 PM EDT, Sun September 29, 2013
George Zimmerman's estranged wife said that while she respects the jury's not guilty verdict in his second-degree murder trial, she now has doubts about his innocence.
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Sun July 28, 2013
George Zimmerman's defense team says people should delve into the "substance" of other comments made by a juror who claimed the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
updated 1:12 PM EDT, Sun July 28, 2013
A juror in the George Zimmerman trial says she feels the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
updated 3:52 PM EDT, Wed July 24, 2013
Four days after he was acquitted of murder, George Zimmerman stepped out of seclusion to help a family.
updated 1:09 PM EDT, Sun July 28, 2013
Florida law kept George Zimmerman from being held accountable in last year's shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen's mom said.
updated 10:10 PM EDT, Wed July 24, 2013
Vowing to keep fighting for his son Trayvon -- even after Zimmerman was acquitted of murder -- Tracy Martin said that his family wants to turn "negative energy" surrounding their plight "into a positive."
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Sat July 20, 2013
The nation has a long history of self-defense laws. Almost every state allows some version of the "castle" defense, as in "a man's home is his castle."
updated 12:43 AM EDT, Thu July 18, 2013
The woman known as Juror B37 in the George Zimmerman trial released a statement exclusively to CNN pushing for new laws.
updated 4:57 PM EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
One of the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman said she had "no doubt" he feared for his life in the final moments of his struggle with Trayvon Martin.
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
George Zimmerman "didn't do anything unlawful" and was "justified" in shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to one of the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman.
updated 1:04 AM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
The friend who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin when his fatal confrontation with Zimmerman said she is upset at his acquittal on murder charges.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
His trial's over. And now it turns out that George Zimmerman might need the same thing millions of Americans are looking for: a job.
updated 10:16 AM EDT, Mon July 15, 2013
An employee of the Florida State Attorney's Office who testified that prosecutors withheld evidence from George Zimmerman's defense team has been fired.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Mon July 15, 2013
This might sound like a legal conundrum.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Mon July 15, 2013
Suspected racism in the justice system, deep-seated, secretive and historic, was the crux of the case for millions, writes Tom Foreman.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
Just like most any other teenager, Trayvon Martin enjoyed listening to music and going to the movies, friends and family said.
updated 3:38 PM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
With a single phrase, Rachel Jeantel, that friend of Trayvon Martin's, may have lit a fuse in the trial of his accused killer.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT