Add two more innocent victims to the Trayvon Martin killing:
A school-cafeteria lunch lady and her husband have received hate mail, unwanted visits from reporters and fearful inquiries from neighbors — all because their Sanford-area address is being disseminated on Twitter as belonging to Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, her son said late Tuesday.
The woman, 70, who has a heart condition, and her husband, 72, have temporarily moved to a hotel to avoid the spotlight and possible danger, said son Chip Humble of Longwood.
The woman has another son named William George Zimmerman who lived with her in 1995 and still lives in Central Florida. He is no relation to George Zimmerman, 28, who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Feb. 26, sparking national outrage and international interest.
William Zimmerman isn’t sure how his mother and stepfather’s address became public. He said he used it to register a car, get a drivers license and vote when he lived there briefly after college.
“This is really scary, and I’m concerned for my family,” Zimmerman told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday night. “It’s scary because there are people who aren’t mentally right and will take this information and run with it.”
Zimmerman traced the tweets — which he said have been retweeted by actor-director Spike Lee — to a man in California. Zimmerman has implored the man to stop and said he received this response, “Black power all day. No justice, no peace” and an obscenity.
Lee’s tweet has been removed, but it continues to be retweeted.
“To endanger people who are innocent because people are angry is not the answer,” William Zimmerman said. “That’s not how we’re going to heal. It’s not to help the Martin family for someone else to be hurt.”
Those who tweeted and retweeted the address of this Zimmerman family (including Spike Lee) ought to be apologizing for the harm they have caused to this innocent family. No purpose at all was served by publicizing the Zimmerman address — even if it was the actual address of George Zimmerman. In fact, the posters ought to have foreseen that such a publication could only fuel an already angry mob and possibly lead to further incidents of vigilante justice which would forever taint the legacy of Trayvon and give ammunition to those who continue to defend the actual shooter.
It will also be interesting to see if, under Florida law, this family has claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress, libel and invasion of privacy by the intentional disclosure of their address and erroneous attribution of identity.
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