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George Zimmerman accused of new criminal acts

Few Florida readers are unfamiliar with the name George Zimmerman. The now-31-year-old Zimmerman is back in the headlines this week, as accusations of a new round of criminal acts hits the media. While many in the state hold strong opinions on the character of this man, it is important to remember that he, as everyone else, deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to allegations of wrongdoing.

Zimmerman is known for bringing Florida's "stand your ground" laws to the attention of the nation. After he shot and killed an unarmed African-American teen several years ago, he was portrayed as an angry and violent man, one who was quick to react in a violent manner. He was eventually acquitted of the charges against him, but he has struggled to shed the image of being quick to violence.

Recently, Mr. Zimmerman was accused of throwing a wine bottle at a woman he has been dating. The domestic violence accusations are not the first; Zimmerman was also accused of resorting to violence with his former wife and another girlfriend. Neither of those cases resulted in criminal charges, but both were widely reported in the media.

Domestic violence is among the most serious of criminal acts, to be sure. However, not every accusation of such an event is based on the truth. Many times, these matters are blown out of proportion in the heat of the moment, and criminal charges do not result. In the case of George Zimmerman, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that an angry partner, knowing his history, might have made statements to police that were not entirely true. As the matter moves toward a Florida court, additional details may clarify the issue.

Source: The New York Times, "George Zimmerman Is Charged With Assault in Florida", Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Jan. 10, 2015

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