George Zimmerman, the Florida neighbourhood watchman famously acquitted after killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, has filed a lawsuit against Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg over tweets the presidential candidates posted to commemorate the shooting victim's birthday.
The lawsuit cited separate tweets both candidates posted on 5 February, the victim’s birthday, in which they call out issues of gun violence and prejudice in the US.
“Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today,” Mr Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, wrote in his tweet. “How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear?#BlackLivesMatter.”
Ms Warren (D—MA) said her “heart goes out” to the shooting victim’s family and friends, writing: “He should still be with us today.”
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The senator added: “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.”
Though neither of their tweets so much as named Mr Zimmerman, the 36-year-old claimed in his lawsuit that Mr Buttigieg and Ms Warren were committing “defamation with actual malice or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth”.
The lawsuit was seeking $15,000 (£11,524) in damages, while alleging the Democratic candidates wrongly connected the shooting victim’s death to gun violence.
Mr Zimmerman, who has long claimed self-defence after killing the unarmed black teenager, said Mr Buttigieg and Ms Warren posted the tweets as part of a “political agenda to garner votes in the black community”.
This is a breaking news story. More follows...