From this morning’s Los Angeles Times:
“Oh, man, that feels good,” he told his wife, “… that there are people in America that care.”
“Yeah they do,” she answered. So many tried to log onto his website the day of his arrest, she said, it kept crashing. A few moments later, she said, “After all this is over, you’re going to be able to have a great life.”
“We will,” he said.
This is a transcript from a prison phone call that took place between George Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie. The two were discussing the $204,000 Zimmerman raked in from PayPal donations leading up to his trial. Over the course of this phone call and others like it, they discuss how to move the money around to hide it from the court so they wouldn’t have to waste all that hot racist cash on legal fees. They took special care to speak in code, making bank transfers under reporting limits and shuttling the money into different accounts belonging to his wife and family:
[She] was charged Tuesday with perjury, a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. She was released on bond herself.
Records show that in the days before an April bond hearing for her husband, Shellie Zimmerman, 25, transferred $74,000 in eight smaller amounts ranging from $7,500 to $9,990, from her husband’s credit union account to hers, according to an arrest affidavit. It also shows that $47,000 was transferred from George Zimmerman’s account to his sister’s in the days before the bond hearing.
This influx of cash followed a major effort by Zimmerman’s supporters to cast him as the real victim, a poor man being railroaded by the justice system and major media outlets. They flooded comment sections and social media with racist horseshit, tried desperately to dig up dirt on Martin and discovered that he was, get this, a fucking teenager, and did whatever they could to violently shove the media narrative in the other direction because it made their guy look bad and didn’t make the young boy he had killed look bad enough. When Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, initially disclosed how much had been raised, he speculated his client hadn’t know the money was available to him during bond proceedings.
If I had to guess I’d say some people donated because they strongly believe in “Stand Your Ground” laws and wanted to stave off a public defeat of a defendant who has come to be a stand-in for its most noxious abuses. Others had a stake they wanted to protect in the police making investigative decisions based on colorism, specifically anti-blackness. Some of them wanted to nudge the outcome of the tidy narrative they’d ingested about how the media always sides with black people no matter what, despite the fact that news outlets were circulating fake information curated from fucking white supremacists. These are all people who looked at George Zimmerman and saw an underdog, a righteous man, an important precedent to uphold in a system that governs whose deaths matter in America and whose do not.
Suffice to say, very few of these people were giving simply to raise the Zimmerman’s standard of living. But his interpretation of their monetary donations as support for him, personally, is instructive. Because it highlights how the aid of white supremacy can feel like personal or systemic interest or investment, even as the people enacting it are simply reifying a system that benefits them personally. The Sanford Police Department didn’t work overtime covering and running interference for Zimmerman because they like him personally, they did it because they have a predatory relationship with communities of color and a vested interest in keeping that dynamic intact. White Supremacists aren’t defending a person of color like Zimmerman because they respect him or think he should have the same rights they do, but because they want to reward people who reinforce their vision of young black men as dangerous.
He’s right to say that they care. But not about him, and certainly not about justice.