George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, has filed a lawsuit against NBC for airing an edited version of a 911 call he made the night of the incident.
Zimmerman and his lawyers are suing NBC Universal Media for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.
The complaint, filed in Seminole County, Fla. and obtained by The Wrap:
NBC News saw the death of Trayvon Martin not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to increase ratings, and so set about to create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain. Their goal was simple: Keep their viewers alarmed, and thus always watching, by menacing them with a reprehensible series of imaginary and exaggerated racist claims.
The edited call is reported to have first aired on March 19. In it, Zimmerman is heard saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black.”
Though Zimmerman, a night watchman at the time, did utter those words, two statements were edited to sound like one. Zimmerman and his attorneys say employees at NBC continued to report he used a “racial epithet” during the emergency call and used the edited recording to “pounce on the Zimmerman/Martin matter because they knew this tragedy could be, with proper sensationalizing and manipulation, a racial powderkeg that would result in months, if not years, of topics for their failing news programs, particularly the plummeting ratings for their ailing ‘Today Show’.”
Others included in the lawsuit are NBC Miami correspondent Miami Lilia Rodriguez Luciano; Miami-based reporter, Jeff Burnside; Ron Allen another NBC correspondent and MSNBC employee.
Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman Jr. recently defended his brother on Spanish-language television, telling Univision’s Jorge Ramos Trayvon Martin’s family lawyers are exploiting racial tensions to misrepresent and vilify his brother.
Robert and the brother’s mother, Gladys Zimmerman, maintains George is not racist, pointing out the mother has Afro-Peruvian roots.
The Zimmermans have long-stated 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in an act of self-defense.
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