George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watchman embroiled in controversy after shooting teen Trayvon Martin, has apparently broken his silence — to ask the public for money.
Zimmerman has been in hiding since a media frenzy sparked following Martin's death on February 26. Now, through the website TheRealGeorgeZimmerman.com, he offers a statement about his role in the incident and asks for financial support.
"I am the real George Zimmerman," he begins. "As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life. This website's sole purpose is to ensure my supporters they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries."
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A Paypal account is attached to the website. Zimmerman says any donations will go toward "living expenses and legal defense" in lieu of his "forced inability to maintain employment."
The website includes a section labeled "The Facts." Where one might expect to see Zimmerman's interpretation of the incident, instead a quote from author James W. Loewen is posted: "People have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight."
Below it is another short statement from Zimmerman thanking friends for aid and support and for understanding that he cannot discuss the details of "the event on February 26th."
"Once again, I thank you for your patience and I assure you, the facts will come to light," Zimmerman promises.
In another section of the website titled "My Race," Zimmerman includes two more quotes, including this one from Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
The website's "album" includes a photo of a spray-painted message on a brick wall that reads "Long Live George Zimmerman." According to the Huffington Post, the wall belongs to Ohio State University's black cultural center. Another photo on the site shows a hand-written sign that reads "Justice For Zimmerman."
A special prosecutor assigned to the case has dismissed the possibility of a grand jury's involvement. Zimmerman has not been charged and remains free, though his request for donations could suggest that he is expecting charges in the future.