George Zimmerman assault case dropped; ex-girlfriend recants

AP News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2015 10:41 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — An aggravated assault case against George Zimmerman that was opened when his ex-girlfriend said he threw a wine bottle at her has been dropped because she recanted her story and stopped cooperating with investigators, a prosecutor said Friday.

State Attorney Phil Archer said he wouldn't file a formal charge against Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch leader who was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. The killing of the unarmed black teen touched off protests across the country.

The ex-girlfriend had made it clear she didn't want the case to proceed, and there were no other eyewitnesses to what happened earlier this month, Archer said.

"While it is clear that the officers had probable cause to arrest Mr. Zimmerman ... the subsequent recantation by the victim of her initial statement ... precludes my office from proceeding further," Archer said in a statement.

Zimmerman was arrested three weeks ago after his ex-girlfriend told police officers he had thrown a wine bottle at her.

Zimmerman had denied throwing the bottle and disputed her claim that he destroyed her cellphone. A person who answered Zimmerman's cellphone Friday morning said he wasn't George Zimmerman and wouldn't comment on the case.

Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, didn't immediately return a phone call.

Officers patrolling the neighborhood where Zimmerman lives three weeks ago heard the sound of glass shattering, and then saw the former girlfriend drive out of the driveway. They pulled her over for a traffic stop a few streets over because she didn't have her lights on.

She explained that Zimmerman became angry after she told him she didn't want to take the relationship further, and said they also argued over a painting she had that he wanted returned. Zimmerman made threats and threw the wine bottle, which didn't hit her, she said at the time. Officers described her as crying and upset.

She later recanted her story.

Since his acquittal in the Martin case, Zimmerman has had several brushes with the law:

__ He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after his then-girlfriend said he pointed a gun at her face during an argument, smashed her coffee table and pushed her out of the house they shared. Samantha Scheibe decided not to cooperate with detectives and prosecutors didn't pursue the case.

__ Zimmerman was accused by his estranged wife of smashing an iPad during an argument at the home they had shared. Shellie Zimmerman initially told a dispatcher her husband had a gun, though she later said he was unarmed. No charges were filed because of a lack of evidence. The dispute occurred days after Shellie Zimmerman filed divorce papers.

__ Zimmerman also has been pulled over three times for traffic violations since his acquittal.