MIAMI – On an old, long-unused MySpace page, Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman made some disparaging comments about Mexicans and also referred triumphantly to his escape from 2005 legal troubles stemming from his confrontation with law enforcement officers.
The 2005-dated page, confirmed as authentic Wednesday by Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara, also mentions a 7-year-old domestic violence incident between Zimmerman and a former girlfriend, and the page includes several photos.
Zimmerman, 28, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 shooting of the 17-year-old Martin in the central Florida city of Sanford. The case has sparked racial tensions around the country because Martin, who was unarmed, was black, while Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother. Martin's family and supporters claim he was a victim of racial profiling
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in the community where Martin was shot, has claimed Martin attacked him and that he fired only in self-defense.
On the MySpace paged called "onlytobeakingagain," Zimmerman uses the name "Joe G" and discusses leaving his hometown of Manassas, Va., and how much he misses his friends. Then he veers into a slang-filled riff — with many words misspelled — involving Mexicans who lived in the area.
"I don't miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft (expletive) wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) don't make you a man in my book," Zimmerman writes on the page.
"Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!" he adds, providing no details about these alleged incidents. The existence of the MySpace page was first reported by The Miami Herald.
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said Wednesday that prosecutors could use Zimmerman's MySpace comments against him.
"It's not just speculation and innuendo. He has a history and a habit of profiling people," Crump said. "He thinks certain things about certain racial groups."
A statement posted on a Zimmerman defense site run by O'Mara concedes that the comments "will cast Mr. Zimmerman in a less-than-favorable light" and that they could become evidence in the case. The statement says there will be no comment on the MySpace statements for that reason, but it does confirm that the posts were by Zimmerman.
O'Mara also said on the website that an accountant and former Internal Revenue Service agent has been chosen to oversee Zimmerman's legal defense fund, which has collected more than $200,000 so far. The fund will be used to pay legal fees and for Zimmerman's living expenses.
Two August 2005 blog posts on the site make reference to Zimmerman's legal problems. In one, Zimmerman exults about how two felony charges stemming from a physical altercation outside a bar with a law enforcement officer were dropped to a misdemeanor.
"The man knows he was wrong," reads part of the post. Ultimately, the misdemeanor charge was also dropped when Zimmerman completed a pretrial diversion program that included an anger management course.
The second post mentions a legal battle with an "ex-hoe," likely a reference to a 2005 incident in which a girlfriend accused Zimmerman of attacking her. He was not charged in that case, and on the blog post Zimmerman writes that the woman "tried her hardest, but the judge saw through it!"
Zimmerman's wife testified during his bail hearing last month that her husband told her he was actually defending himself in that incident, not the other way around.
Crump, however, said Zimmerman's comments about the legal issues are telling.
"You think you can always get away with stuff," Crump said. "Every time I go to court, I win. I beat it."
The social media world has been a key aspect of the Martin case. It was via such sites as Twitter and Facebook that discussion and outrage began to build nationally because police did not initially arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law as the reason.
It has also played a part in the public images of both Martin and Zimmerman. On a former Facebook page of Martin's, for example, some critics of how the teenager has been portrayed noted possible references to marijuana use. Martin was in Sanford with his father because he had been suspended from his Miami school over discovery of a plastic baggie containing marijuana residue.
The statement on the Zimmerman defense website says that scrutinizing the MySpace postings "invites scrutiny of the social medial accounts of all parties involved."
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