The older brother of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, says a controversial Twitter posting comparing Martin with an alleged baby killer was his attempt to correct the establishment media’s false portrayal of the Florida teen in the racially charged case.
Robert Zimmerman, who spoke with WND in an exclusive interview, ignited a firestorm of debate on the Internet when he juxtaposed a Facebook photo of the 17-year-old Martin flipping off the camera alongside a Facebook photo of alleged killer DeMarquise Elkins, also 17, doing the same.
The tweeted photo was headlined: “A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?”
In contrast to the boyish images of Martin favored by media, Robert Zimmerman told WND, the social-media photos represent “the way [the two teens] decided they wanted to express themselves to the world on those platforms.”
“George Zimmerman never encountered the person portrayed in the media, he encountered the person who portrayed himself in social media [flipping off the camera],” he said.
Martin’s Facebook photo, Robert Zimmerman said, “doesn’t push the narrative of the monster killing the child the media created immediately following the events of last February.”
George Zimmerman has pleaded not-guilty to second-degree murder for the killing of Martin in February 2012, claiming he shot the teen in self-defense.
“The selective editing by NBC to portray my brother as a racist is akin to the media using younger pictures of Trayvon Martin to make people think that’s the person Zimmeran encountered,” Robert Zimmerman told WND.
“We were presented with childlike, cherub-like pictures of Trayvon Martin by a media hoping to create a monster narrative out of the story, juxtaposing images of my brother side-by-side with this angel. But that’s not who George encountered that night.”
Robert Zimmerman argues that the Facebook photo was Martin’s “digital footprint,” the “way he wanted to be portrayed.”
“He knew he was doing when he took that picture and posted it to social media,” Zimmerman said.
“I did something on social media, and now I’m in trouble. That’s fair game. But look what Trayvon Martin had posted – an image that the media actively hid. Why isn’t that fair game? That was his self-portrayal, which is the most ethical way to portray him,” said Zimmerman.
He noted that the provocative social-media photos of DeMarquise Elkins began circulating only days after Elkins was accused of shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in the head and shooting the baby’s mother in Brunswick, Ga.
“His social media pictures are fair game,” he argued. “They aren’t controversial.”
But somehow, he said, using a photo of Trayvon Martin, the way the teen portrayed himself, is not considered fair game.
“The way he is portrayed by attorneys and media strategists is the way we are introduced to him – a picture of Trayvon Martin skiing when he is in the eighth grade is not the person [my brother] encountered in February 2012,” he said.
“More than a year after the incident, the media still uses flattering images of Trayvon Martin as the person who George Zimmerman encountered. We thought the media would do its job, and that Travyon Martin 2.0 would emerge.”