Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg were recently hit with lawsuits over alleged slander and defamation.
Remember George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot Trayvon Martin back in 2012? Well, it turns out he recently decided to sue two Democratic presidential candidates over allegations that they “slandered him as a racist to garner votes in the black community.” According to the lawsuit, the two candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg defamed Zimmerman “with malice or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth by suggesting he is a racist and white supremacist.” The suit was filed on Tuesday in the 10th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
The alleged slander and defamation happened on February 5 when the two candidates issued statements “expressing regret over his death and calling for an end to racism.” February 5 would have been Martin’s 25th birthday. Warren’s statement read:
“My heart goes out to [Martin’s mother] and Trayvon’s family and friends. He should still be with us today. 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.”
Buttigieg expressed similar sentiments when he tweeted the following:
“Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today. How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear?”
For those who don’t know, Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, who was 17-years-old at the time, on February 26, 2012, during a physical altercation in Florida. At the time, Zimmerman was a “coordinator for his neighborhood watch.” Shortly after the incident, protests and backlash broke out across the country, and eventually, Zimmerman was “charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.” However, a jury later acquitted him of both charges.
In addition to calling Warren and Buttigieg out for the alleged slander, Zimmerman’s suit also “takes issue with their use of the term ‘gun violence,’ saying the phrase refers more often to reckless and indiscriminate use of illegally owned firearms to kill innocent people.” On top of that, the suit takes issue with “Buttigieg’s implication that Zimmerman experienced fear arising from his prejudice.” The suit further states:
“The only ‘fear’ Zimmerman experienced, as established in the 2013 trial and well-covered in the media, was in the context of Zimmerman believing he might go unconscious and die from the repeated beating of his head against the sidewalk pavement or by choking to death from the blood going down his throat due to his broken nose during the beating by Martin.”
The suit further argues the two candidates made the statements in an attempt to garner more support from the black community, a community that both Warren and Buttigieg have struggled to impress so far. In fact, both candidates are currently polling “at under 10 percent among African-Americans.”