George Zimmerman, the Seminole County former neighborhood watch volunteer who gained national infamy for a 2012 altercation that led to the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, has released a video detailing his thoughts on the national uproar that followed.
"I feel that now is the perfect time to speak my mind without fear of retaliation from the president, the attorney general, the federal government, etcetera," Zimmerman said in the video, released through the website of attorneys Ayo and Iken PLC.
Zimmerman had been waiting to make the video until after the Federal Department of Justice had concluded its investigation into whether Zimmerman had violated Martin's civil rights. The DOJ had decided not to charge him.
"Initially I was extremely alleviated [by the DOJ decision], but quickly that turned to the realization that the Department of Justice finding to not pursue charges was just the beginning of my personal journey to correct the wrongs that the federal government did, to ensure that it never happens to any innocent American ever again," he said.
"In all fairness, you cannot feel guilty for surviving, for living," he said, before accusing President Barack Obama of incendiary commentary.
Zimmerman had escaped conviction for the shooting death of the teenager, when a jury acquitted him on July 13, 2013.
The jury decided there was not enough evidence to convict him beyond the shadow of a doubt, of murder or manslaughter.
Zimmerman had been following the teen, whom he had deemed suspicious, while Martin was walking home from a local convenience store on Feb. 26, 2012. That escalated into a fistfight that led to Martin's death. Zimmerman had claimed that Martin was on top of him, punching him, and that he feared for his life when he shot Martin in the chest.
The incident sparked international outrage and led to political rallies and national debate about the state of race relations in America.
Zimmerman escaped conviction in a trial in Seminole County when jurors failed to convict him of murder charges, which led to controversy regarding Florida's self defense statutes and whether they contributed to Zimmerman's acquittal.
Federal prosecutors also determined Tuesday that they could not prove Zimmerman had intentionally violated Martin's rights.
In the interim period Zimmerman had been involved in a series of alleged physical altercations that led to police intervention, including domestic violence incidents, though he has avoided being prosecuted for any subsequent alleged crimes.