Police try to recover iPad video of Zimmerman domestic dispute

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 10, 2013 5:13 PM
Police try to recover iPad video of Zimmerman domestic dispute

By Kevin Gray

MIAMI (Reuters) - Police were trying to piece together an iPad video that captured a domestic dispute between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife to determine if any charges would be filed in the case, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Shellie Zimmerman used the iPad to film the altercation on Monday, but her husband later smashed the device into pieces during the confrontation, said the spokesman for the Lake Mary, Florida police, Zach Hudson.

"We want to get more information off that iPad so we can have a clearer picture of what was going on," Hudson said.

Shellie Zimmerman called 911 on Monday and said her husband had threatened her with a gun and punched her father in the face at an Orlando suburban home where the couple lived during George Zimmerman's murder trial in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

She later decided not to press any charges against Zimmerman, who was briefly detained for questioning by police.

Kelly Sims, a lawyer for Shellie Zimmerman, said she does not plan to seek a restraining order against him.

The couple blames each other for starting the incident, Hudson said.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said on Monday that Zimmerman was carrying a gun during the incident. But police said they did not find a weapon when they searched Zimmerman and suggested he may have given the impression he was armed.

"If you normally carry a gun on your person and you reach into that area because you have a scratch in the middle of an argument, are you in fear?" Hudson said. "And the answer is probably yes."

Police have sent the iPad to a crime lab to see if the video footage can be recovered. The video's contents will determine if either of the couple will be charged with domestic battery.

Under Florida law, police can make an arrest in a domestic violence case even if a victim decides not to press charges.

The iPad is critical evidence in part because George claims Shellie hit him with it.

Zimmerman was acquitted in July of murdering Martin as the 17-year-old walked back to the townhouse where he was staying, ending a case that polarized the U.S. public on issues of race, gun and self-defense laws.

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O'Mara blamed Monday's incident on "fallout" from the Martin case and Shellie Zimmerman's decision last week to file for a divorce.

Shellie, 26, and her father arrived at the house with a truck and trailer on Monday to remove her belongings.

Video from a house surveillance camera shows Shellie following George into the house and filming him with her iPad. Another piece of surveillance video shows George methodically breaking apart the iPad in the front yard.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman, 29, has been pulled over twice by police for speeding.

CNN reported that O'Mara, who is now a legal analyst with the cable TV network, does not plan to represent Zimmerman in the domestic dispute case or his impending divorce.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Liston in Orlando; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Richard Chang)