The man at the center of a growing controversy after he shot and killed an unarmed teen is soliciting donations for his legal and living expenses.
George Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February after he says Martin attacked him. Zimmerman had previously been following Martin, after calling 911 to report suspicious behavior as Martin was walking through Zimmerman’s community in Sanford, Florida. Many believe that the shooting by Zimmerman, who is described as “white Hispanic,” was racially motivated.
Now, according to Mashable, Zimmerman has set up a donation button through the online payment company Paypal on his website.
“I have created a Paypal account… as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment,” Zimmerman says on the site.
“I will also personally, maintain accountability of all funds received,” Zimmerman continues. “I reassure you, every donation is appreciated.”
While the registrant information for the domain name, TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com, is hidden, Mashable reports that NBC confirmed with Zimmerman’s lawyers that the website created on April 8 does indeed belong to Zimmerman. The AP also confirmed the authenticity of the defense fund site with Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner.
Zimmerman also says on the site that because of the “life altering event” and the “intense media coverage” he’s had to give up everything.
“I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life,” he says.
Martin’s parents are bothered by Zimmerman’s choice of words on the website, and a family spokesperson said, “For Trayvon Martin and his family, this was a ‘life ending event’ that wiped out a bright future and a world of opportunity.”
Protests across the country have urged prosecutors in Florida to arrest Zimmerman and bring him to trial. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced on Monday that she will bypass involving a grand jury in the case and will conduct the investigation within her office.
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