Reporters this week dug up the 2005 MySpace page of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's attorney confirmed that the abandoned page is authentic. Zimmerman's seven-year-old posts are the latest in a series of revelations in the case coming from social media, says The Miami Herald, which first reported the existence of the MySpace profile. A social media campaign helped bring the February killing into the national spotlight, and the media have mined the dead teen's Twitter account for photos and insights into his life. What does Zimmerman's old MySpace page reveal about him? Here, four takeaways:
1. Zimmerman disparaged Mexicans
Zimmerman, who used the name Joe G. on the page, wrote that he missed his friends after leaving Manassas, Va., where he grew up. But, he said, "I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around." He also wrote: "Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!" Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said the posts support the theory that Zimmerman, who has a white father and a Hispanic mother, singled out Martin, who was black, because of his race. "He has a history and a habit of profiling people," Crump tells The Washington Post. "He thinks certain things about certain racial groups."
2. But he had ethnically diverse friends
Zimmerman's word choice was "colorful, but not terrible," Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara tells The Orlando Sentinel. He used no racial slurs, added O'Mara, and it's silly to suggest that his comments about Mexicans mean he has something against Hispanics — his mother is from Peru. Photos posted on the page, which Zimmerman titled "only to be king again," proved that Zimmerman had an ethnically diverse group of friends. "Showing him with a history of relationships with people of multiple races," says Nick R. Martin at Talking Points Memo, the MySpace page "complicates the image critics have painted of him being a racist."
3. Zimmerman bragged about beating previous criminal charges
Zimmerman used the account to let friends know that he had gotten out of legal trouble that year. In the blog section of his MySpace page, Zimmerman boasts after two felony charges he faced — for obstructing justice and for committing battery against a law enforcement officer — were reduced (and ultimately dropped altogether after he completed an anger management course). "2 felonies dropped to 1 misdemeanor!!!!!!!!!!! The man knows he was wrong," Zimmerman wrote. That boasting is telling of Zimmerman's thought process, Martin attorney Crump says. "You think you can always get away with stuff," Crump tells The Washington Post of Zimmerman. "Every time I go to court, I win. I beat it."
4. He was not on good terms with his ex-fiancee
In 2005, Zimmerman's ex-fiancee filed for an injunction, accusing him of domestic violence. In an apparent reference to that case, in which Zimmerman was never charged, Zimmerman wrote: "Im still free! The ex hoe tried her hardest, but the judge saw through it!" But this and other "gangsta affectations" on MySpace only prove that social media aren't always the best way to judge someone's character, says Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. This isn't the kind of talk Zimmerman's supporters, including former co-workers, were used to hearing from him. "While people generally try to put their best foot forward in life, they often change shoes to fit the setting."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
- If Scotland leaves the union, is Northern Ireland next?
- America is doomed! (And other thoughts on our gloomy historical moment.)
Subscribe to the Week