George Zimmerman has filed a lawsuit against Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, after he claimed both candidates damaged his reputation while paying tribute to Trayvon Martin.
The lawsuit, filed in Polk County, seeks damages in excess of $15,000, costs and attorneys’ fees.
Zimmerman claims the candidates were attempting to “garner votes in the black community,” Newsweek.com reported.
According to the lawsuit, both Buttigieg and Warren were said to have acted with wrong intention or “at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth” after they tweeted about Martin.
The candidates shared their tweets on Feb. 5 to their millions of followers on what would have been Martin’s 25 birthday.
My heart goes out to @SybrinaFulton and Trayvon's family and friends. He should still be with us today.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 6, 2020
We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children—especially young Black boys—can grow up safe and free. https://t.co/9lXXlRnvzL
According to Zimmerman’s lawsuit, both Warren and Buttigieg falsely connected Martin’s death with gun violence, even though he claims he acted in self-defense on the night of the shooting.
The lawsuit claims that using the term gun violence can be associated with “reckless and indiscriminate use of illegally owned firearms,” which results in the death of an innocent person.
The lawsuit also claims that the tweets slander Zimmerman by suggesting his actions on the night of the shooting were a result of white supremacy or racism, or that he acted out of “fear” because of the color of Martin’s skin.
Warren and Buttigieg’s tweets were used as a part of their “political agenda to garner votes in the black community,” the lawsuit added.
Authorities said Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, who was unarmed but was not immediately arrested because he claimed he was defending himself. Zimmerman was later acquitted of second-degree murder for the 2012 killing.
His delayed arrest and acquittal spurred the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement.