Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in July of 2013 of all charges related to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, was arrested Wednesday morning in Ferguson, Missouri after an altercation outside of a Dunkin’ Donuts, where Zimmerman allegedly aimed a handgun at two black teenagers who confronted him.
Authorities say Zimmerman was exiting the Dunkin’ Donuts at approximately 9:45 am when he encountered the two teenagers, who are identified only as black males ages 16 and 17. In cell phone footage obtained by the police and shown, but not released, to the media, the two teens make every effort to evade Zimmerman, but finally confront him after he followed them for a short distance.
“We just saw George Zimmerman, and he’s in Ferguson,” one of the teens says in the cell phone video. “He’s following us. We’re trying to walk away but he’s following us.” The camera shows Zimmerman, carrying a bag of food and a drink, who yells something illegible at the teens. “We don’t want anything to go down. We’re just minding our own business. We’re minding our business.”
Zimmerman is heard yelling something again, and finally the teens stop. One of the teens rather articulately asks Zimmerman to leave him, his friend, and his town, alone. “Sir, sir, we don’t… we don’t have an issue with you, sir. Please leave us alone,” the younger teenager says in the video, while Zimmerman continues to rant about something in the background. “Mr. Zimmerman, I don’t know why you’re here in Ferguson, but It’s pretty damn insensitive, you showing up here. This town’s been through enough already, we don’t need you here intensifying things, okay? And my friend and I didn’t say anything to you.”
“I have a right to be here. It’s a free country, we’re on a public street,” Zimmerman angrily says to the teens. “Why were you following me? Why were you harassing me?”
“We did no such thing, Mr. Zimmerman. You were leaving the store and we saw you and crossed the street,” the younger teen replies. “You followed us for a whole block. We said nothing to you and we were not following you.”
“Why are you here, George?” the older teen asks. “Ferguson has enough going on without you trying to get in the news again.”
At this point, Zimmerman drops his beverage and reaches into his jacket. The teen holding the cell phone raises it, and then the video abruptly ends. Authorities say a State Police cruiser, which just happened to be driving by at that moment, pulled over, and the officers found Zimmerman aiming a 9mm pistol at the two teens, who had their hands raised above their heads. After drawing their own weapons and ordering Zimmerman to drop his, Zimmerman was taken into custody.
Police found two handguns, a shotgun, and several knives inside Zimmerman’s car at the time of his arrest. It is unclear why Zimmerman was visiting Ferguson, when he arrived, or where in town he was staying. Police say the teens will be allowed to release the full video to the public after their investigation is complete.