George Zimmerman’s estranged wife now says she doubts his innocence in the 2012 Florida shooting that left Trayvon Martin dead.
Shellie Zimmerman, who is in the midst of divorcing George, said on NBC’s Today show Thursday that he hasn’t been the same since his acquittal on murder and manslaughter charges earlier this year. A Sept. 9 fight in which she claimed her husband threatened her with a gun has led to their looming divorce, and she wonders what really happened in the shooting that sparked a national discussion about race, guns and self-defense laws.
“I believe the evidence, but this revelation in my life has really helped me take the blinders off and start to see things differently,” Shellie Zimmerman said.
Last week, Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player who recently moved to the Charlotte, N.C., area to be with his fiancée, had a horrible car crash. The 24-year-old broke out the back window to escape and walked, injured, to knock on the nearest door for help. Now, Ferrell is dead. The neighbor he asked for aid called 911 (“He is trying to kick down my door,” she cried on the phone), and one of the responding police officers shot the unarmed Ferrell 10 times.
Though the officer who shot Ferrell is in deep trouble (he has been charged with voluntary manslaughter), this tragedy is really (at bottom) not his fault. This is the sort of thing that will happen when the criminalization of young black males is built into the system and no barrier exists between guns and the general public. These conditions have nothing to do with any one individual; they are completely supported and reproduced at the level of the social. As a consequence, punishing the officer is really meaningless—he can go but the real problem remains. You will only change the behavior of individuals if you change the structure of the social form.