A Florida opts not file a formal aggravated assault charge against George Zimmerman
A girlfriend recants her claim that Zimmerman threw a bottle at her, she feared him
He became a national lightning rod after being charged, acquitted in Trayvon Martin's death
George Zimmerman was arrested, again, this month in the suspected aggravated assault of a girlfriend. And, again, a Florida prosecutor has opted not to press formal charges – after the alleged victim backed off her claims.
State Attorney Phil Archer, whose jurisdiction includes Brevard and Seminole counties, announced Friday that his office won’t file charges against Zimmerman, who first came to the world’s attention for his arrest and eventual acquittal in the 2012 shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.
Friday’s announcement relates to the 31-year-old’s arrest in Lake Mary, Florida, on January 9.
“While it clear that the officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Zimmerman, which was affirmed by the circuit court judge at initial appearances, the subsequent recantation by the (alleged) victim of her initial statement along with new documents provided by the victim and her attorney precludes my office from proceeding further,” Archer said.
Zimmerman attorney Don West had told reporters that his client was accused of throwing a wine bottle at a girlfriend. Police learned about it days later after coming “in contact with the (alleged) victim at a traffic stop,” Lake Mary police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said.
The woman has since denied that Zimmerman threw a bottle or that she ever feared him, according to a statement Friday from Lake Mary police.
“She also made it clear that she did not want to proceed with the case,” said police, noting that Lake Mary police Chief Steve Bracknell “concurred with Archer’s decision.” “A lack of eyewitnesses or other corroborating evidence to dispute her version of the incident also contributed to the decision.”
This is the latest instance since July 2013 – when a jury found him not guilty of murder in Martin’s death – that Zimmerman has had a run-in with the law, only to have authorities decide not to push for a trial.
About two weeks after the verdict, he was pulled over for speeding in northern Texas. Much bigger troubles came in November 2013, when Zimmerman was taken into custody at his then-girlfriend’s Apopka, Florida, home after the two allegedly had a heated fight.
He was arrested then on aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence battery and criminal mischief, accusations, posting $9,000 bail days later. But after the girlfriend asked that the issue be dropped, Archer announced that prosecutors would not press charges.
Gillett has said the woman in the more recent instance “is not the same (woman) as in 2013.”
Also, in September 2014, Lake Mary police said that a man claimed Zimmerman threatened him during a road rage incident saying “I will … kill you,” and “Do you know who I am?” He was not arrested and has not been charged.
Talking about the aggravated assault cases, West said earlier this month of his client: “It’s clear he hasn’t been very lucky with the ladies the last few months.”
The lawyer also said then that Zimmerman doesn’t have a full-time job, implying that he’s had his struggles since the Martin case – which made him into a national lightning rod when it came to the merits of “Stand Your Ground” laws and matters of race.
“It’s been a devastating experience that he’s had that he’s working through,” the lawyer said. “… I’m concerned, obviously.”
CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.