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Story highlights

Zimmerman criticizes Obama's comments during the Trayvon Martin case

"To me, that was clearly a dereliction of duty," he says

CNN —  

George Zimmerman says he bears a grudge against President Obama, accusing him of inflaming racial tensions around the Trayvon Martin case.

Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in 2013 over Martin’s death, made the allegations against Obama in a video posted on his lawyers’ website.

The February 2012 killing of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, stirred fierce debate about race and the justice system.

Zimmerman, who is now 31, said he shot Martin in self-defense during a confrontation in Sanford, Florida. But critics allege the death was spurred by racial profiling.

’Dereliction of duty’

In the new video, Zimmerman claims it was Obama who stoked racial tensions surrounding the case.

He cites the President’s remarks in March 2012, when the case was still being investigated, in which Obama said, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

“To me, that was clearly a dereliction of duty, pitting Americans against each other solely based on race,” Zimmerman says in the conversation with his lawyer Howard Iken, who does not appear on camera.

Zimmerman notes that Obama’s press secretary at the time, Jay Carney, had said previously that the White House would not wade into the case, calling it “a local law-enforcement matter.”

Asked if he felt there was one government agency or official who brought the most unfairness to his situation, Zimmerman is quick to respond.

“By far, the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama,” he says.

Clear conscience

Zimmerman’s comments are the first since the U.S. Justice Department announced last month that it wouldn’t bring any civil rights charges against him.

He says that he feels that “the Department of Justice process worked,” but also that it should have investigated whether his civil rights were violated.

“They had various numerous examples of bounties place on my head, credible threats placed against myself and my family,” he says, adding that “the President and the Attorney General and the federal government declined to do anything about it.”

Zimmerman says he has a clear conscience over Martin’s death.

“Only in a true life or death scenario can you have mental clearness to know that you cannot feel guilty for surviving,” he says.