The man who shot Trayvon Martin two years ago says he wants to become a lawyer to "stop the miscarriage of justice."
George Zimmerman, who set off a racial firestorm when he fatally shot Trayvon Martin two years ago, says he still gets death threats and wants to become a lawyer to "stop the miscarriage of justice."
Zimmerman, 30, told CNN's New Day show that he acted in self-defense and that he was a scapegoat for "the government, the president, the attorney general."
The interview was broadcast Monday, one day after Zimmerman told the Spanish-language television network Univision that he is unemployed, homeless and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer when he encountered the black, unarmed 17-year-old in Zimmerman's gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. The tragedy that ensued thrust "stand-your-ground" laws into the public spotlight — even though Zimmerman, who is Latino, opted for a more traditional self-defense argument.
Zimmerman was acquitted in July, setting off another round of protests.
He told New Day a legal career "is the best way to stop the miscarriage of justice that happened to me from happening to somebody else. I don't think it should ever happen to anyone ever again, not one person."
Zimmerman said the people who are threatening to kill him don't know who he really is.
"I have a lot of people saying that, you know, they guarantee that they're going to kill me and I'll never be a free man," he said. "I realize that they don't know me. They know who I was portrayed to be."
Zimmerman said God is the only judge he must answer to: "He knows what happened. I know what happened. So I'd leave it up to him."
Zimmerman said he wishes he had stayed home that night. And he says the apology to the Martin family that he made in court was real, and he is sorry for their loss.
Trayvon Martin's parents have little to say about George Zimmerman's recent interviews, Benjamin Crump, their attorney told USA TODAY on Monday.
"All I can say is they wish Trayvon was here to be able to contemplate his life and his future," Crump said. "Trayvon's parents have chosen not to focus on the killer of their child and whatever he is doing. They are trying to focus on changing stand-your-ground laws so this doesn't happen to anybody else's child."
Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, started the Trayvon Martin Foundation after the teen's death and have been vocal critics about stand-your-ground laws across the country. They plan to attend a demonstration against the law at the Florida Legislature in March along with the parents of Jordan Davis and several civil rights leaders, Crump said.
Zimmerman made headlines again recently when he agreed to a boxing match with rapper DMX. The idea drew so much controversy the first promoter backed out of the bout, putting its future in doubt.
Zimmerman said he signed on to do the event for charity. "It was going to be an unknown person and be a smaller event" but it blew out of proportion, he said.
"I don't want to get beat up, but I saw it as an opportunity," Zimmerman said. "I never expected it to be, to turn out the way it did."
Twitter erupted with contempt for Zimmerman's renewed media attention. Many Twitter users were imploring news outlets to stop treating Zimmerman like a celebrity.
@BigBadRMD posed the question: "Why is CNN continuing to legitimize George Zimmerman?"
Tweeted @Pocha_Squawna: "I'm so sick nd tired if hearing about George Zimmerman! If he not going to jail or being killed I dnt want to know."
Some tweeted what they viewed as ironic statements. "'I wish I could have my life back' -George Zimmerman Yeah, and I'd guess Trayvon would feel the same way," tweeted @CourtlandOlson.
Even some of those who supported the verdict resent the continuing coverage. Tweeted Aaron Arnwine: "I agreed you're not a murderer and that you deserved a fair trial. But please go away."
Zimmerman himself got in a Twitter battle with Piers Morgan, host of CNN's Piers Morgan Live. Shortly after the interview aired on CNN, Morgan tweeted: "You're not a 'victim' @TherealGeorgeZ - you're a killer. Of unarmed 17-year-old boys walking home."
Zimmerman responded "@piersmorgan God bless you, you will be in my prayers."