George Zimmerman said he was sucker-punched over the weekend after talking about the Trayvon Martin case in a Florida restaurant.
While accounts of how the incident escalated vary, the office police report from the Seminole County Sherriff’s Office said that Zimmerman was eating at Gators Riverside Grille Sunday evening when he approached a table to compliment a shirtless man on his Confederate flag tattoo.
The man, identified as Joseph Whitmer, thanked him and then asked “aren’t you 'that' guy?” Zimmerman said 'yes' and proceeded to say that he shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013 out of self-defense.
In the middle of the explanation, Zimmerman was approached by another who asked “You’re bragging about that?” Zimmerman denied bragging, but the man said “you better get the [expletive] out of here.”
Instead of leaving, however, Zimmerman allegedly went back to the table where he was eating with a group of friends.
The man, who threatened Zimmerman and has since been identified as Eddie, approached the table several minutes later and allegedly said “Didn’t I tell you to get the [expletive] out of here.”
Zimmerman tried to tell the man that he wasn’t looking for any trouble, but the man socked him in the face and broke his glasses.
Restaurant staff quickly broke up the scuffle before the assailant fled on a blue Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Zimmerman quickly dialed 911 to report the incident.
“This man just punched me in the face,” he told the 911 dispatcher, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “He said he was going to kill me. You need to send three or four cops.”
Seminole County Sherriff’s Office says it is searching for the man and said he will face battery charges if caught.
Several witnesses to the scuffle have differing accounts of what happened inside the restaurant.
Whitmer’s wife said Zimmerman approached their table and said “Hey, I like your racist tattoos.” He then proceeded “to brag” about killing Martin, the wife said.
Another witness in the restaurant said he also asked Zimmerman to leave after “Zimmerman came to his table and proceeded to brag about how he was the one who killed Trayvon Martin,” an incident report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel said.
The owner of the restaurant, Ed Winters, tells yet a different tale in which Zimmerman was actually criticizing Whitmer’s tattoos and one of Whitmer’s friends approached his table to argue with Zimmerman. Winters said there was a scuffle, but no punches were thrown.
Winters also said that while Zimmerman had visited the restaurant once before, he has been asked to not dine there anymore following this recent incident.
“Everywhere this guy goes he causes controversy,” Winters said. “You’d think he’d keep a low profile.”