George Zimmmerman, who was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the 2012 shooting of a black teenager, says he was punched in the face over the weekend for discussing the case at a Florida restaurant.
The Orlando Sentinel, citing a report from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, reported that Zimmerman claimed to be recognized by another patron, Joseph Whitmer, after Zimmerman complimented his Confederate flag tattoos.
Zimmerman said he confirmed that he had shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and was discussing the case when another man walked up, asked "You're bragging about that?", then told Zimmerman to "get the [expletive] out" of the restaurant.
After Zimmerman went back to his table, the report says the man walked over, said "Didn’t I tell you to get the [expletive] out of here?" then punched Zimmerman in the face.
Zimmerman said the man who hit him fled on a blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the man could face battery charges.
However, the owner of the restaurant, Gators Riverside in Sanford, said Zimmerman argued with the other man, but no punches were thrown.
Ed Winters told the Sentinel that Zimmerman's 911 call prompted a full response from police and firefighters that he said was "blown out of proportion."
Everywhere this guy goes he causes controversy,” said Winters, who added that Zimmerman was no longer welcome at the restaurant. “You’d think he’d keep a low profile."
Other witnesses told a different story. Whitmer's wife told authorities Zimmerman told Whitmer his tattoos were "racist." Another witness at Whitmer's table said Zimmerman "came to [the] table and proceeded to brag about how he was the one who killed Trayvon Martin."
Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Martin's death, a verdict that caused protests across America. The neighborhood watch volunteer controversially cited Florida's "stand your ground" law to say that he had shot Martin in self-defense during a struggle.