APOPKA, Fla. -- The man acquitted of criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin has been charged with assault and battery following his arrest at the home where he lived with his girlfriend in Florida.
Chief Deputy Dennis Lemma announced the charges Monday during a press conference in Sanford hours after Zimmerman's arrest in nearby Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando. Lemma says no one was hurt, and no one else was at the home when deputies arrived.
The 30-year-old former neighborhood watch volunteer has had several brushes with the law since he was acquitted earlier this year of all charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Zimmerman and his estranged wife were involved in a domestic dispute in September. Police said no charges were filed against either of them because of a lack of evidence.
"Just when you thought you heard the last of George Zimmerman," said neighbor Catherine Cantrell. She said she had twice seen a man who looked like Zimmerman get out of a truck that's been in the driveway for nearly a month. The truck parked there Monday appeared to be the same one that reporters have seen Zimmerman drive previously.
"I'm in absolute shock. He was never outside. It's not like he was out flaunting around," she said. Cantrell said the woman who lived in the home was very sweet and quiet.
Sarah Tyler, 26, also lives across the street from the tan stucco house on a cul-de-sac street of single family homes in Apopka, about 15 miles northwest of Orlando. "It's kind of frightening," she said, adding that she only saw a woman came out of the house. Zimmerman, 30, was acquitted in July of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The death of the black teenager, who was unarmed, touched off a nationwide debate about race and self-defense. Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, has said he shot the 17-year-old to defend himself during a fight in February 2012 inside a gated community in Sanford, just outside Orlando. He wasn't charged until 44 days after the shooting, leading to protests nationwide from people who believed he should have been immediately arrested.
The case sparked accusations that Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin, and demonstrations broke out again after his acquittal. Federal authorities are now reviewing the case the see if Martin's civil rights were violated. Zimmerman has had other brushes with the law since his acquittal. Zimmerman and his estranged wife were involved in a domestic dispute in September just days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers, but police later said no charges were filed against either of them because of a lack of evidence.
Zimmerman has also been pulled over three times for traffic stops since his acquittal. He was ticketed for doing 60 mph in a 45 mph zone in Lake Mary in September and was given a warning by a state trooper along Interstate 95 for having a tag cover and windows that were too darkly tinted.
He was also stopped near Dallas in July and was given a warning for speeding. In 2005, Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after he was accused of attacking an undercover officer who was trying to arrest Zimmerman's friend. Later that year, Zimmerman's former fiancee filed for a restraining order against him, alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman responded by requesting a restraining order against her. Both requests were granted. No criminal charges were filed.
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