The man who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, helping spark the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, is suing the teen’s family and lawyers.
Former Florida volunteer community watchman George Zimmerman, whose 2012 killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin drew attention across the United States, sued Mr Martin’s family and lawyers on Wednesday, saying they used a fake witness against him.
Mr Zimmerman is seeking at least $146 million ($100m USD) in damages from Mr Martin’s parents, state prosecutors and two women, who are accused in a Polk County, Florida, lawsuit of helping provide false statements to investigators and during the trial, according to court papers.
On 26 February 2012, Mr Zimmerman, then a neighbourhood watch captain in the gated Sanford community in Florida, fatally shot Mr Martin after the teen’s trip to a convenience store to buy snacks.
The incident helped spark the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mr Zimmerman was arrested and charged.
During the 2013 trial, prosecutors argued Mr Zimmerman profiled, pursued and confronted the black youth.
Mr Zimmerman claimed he shot Mr Martin in self-defence and was found not guilty by a jury.
The lawsuit accuses Mr Martin’s parents and the family’s attorney Benjamin Crump of orchestrating a campaign to force Brittany Diamond Eugene, 16, who was reportedly Mr Martin’s girlfriend, to make a recorded statement that implicated Mr Zimmerman as the aggressor in the altercation with Mr Martin.
She was on the phone with Mr Martin moments before the altercation with Mr Zimmerman, the suit said.
The lawsuit also says that Brittany’s half-sister, Rachel Jeantel, pretended to be her when she was interviewed by prosecutors and provided false statements to incriminate Mr Zimmerman based on coaching from others in court during his trial.
Mr Martin’s uncle, Ronald Fulton, 56, said the lawsuit was no more than a publicity stunt to promote a forthcoming documentary titled the “Trayvon Hoax” that alleges Ms Jeantel was an impostor.