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George Zimmerman's brother apologizes for offensive tweets

By Dana Ford, CNN
March 28, 2013 -- Updated 1433 GMT (2233 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "I'm a human being ... I made a mistake," says Robert Zimmerman Jr.
  • He tweets side-by-side images of Trayvon Martin and De'Marquise Elkins
  • Elkins is accused of killing a baby in his stroller in Georgia
  • Zimmerman says he was trying to make a larger point about the media

(CNN) -- Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, apologized for his controversial and offensive tweets.

In one, Zimmerman juxtaposed a photograph of Martin with one of 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins, one of two teenagers charged with killing a baby in Georgia.

Both Elkins and Martin appear to be flipping off the camera.

"A picture speaks a thousand words. Any questions?" the tweet reads.

In another tweet, Zimmerman writes: "Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky."

A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year: A photo posted online Monday, December 3, shows George Zimmerman with blood on his nose and lips. His attorneys say it was taken the night unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, 28, faces second-degree murder charges in the death of Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Other evidence photos were released earlier this year:
Trayvon Martin evidence
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Memorials to Trayvon Martin grow daily outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated Sanford, Florida, community where neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen February 26. The death has sparked protests across the country and brought unwanted attention to Sanford, a town north of Orlando. Memorials to Trayvon Martin grow daily outside The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the gated Sanford, Florida, community where neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teen February 26. The death has sparked protests across the country and brought unwanted attention to Sanford, a town north of Orlando.
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Speaking on CNN's Piers Morgan Live on Wednesday night, he apologized for the messages, saying they weren't the "right thing to do."

"I realize those were controversial and offensive and I did publicly apologize for them," he said. "I'm a human being. I'm being upfront about what I did. I made a mistake ... Unfortunately (it) may not have helped George."

5 things to know about the case

His brother, George Zimmerman, has been charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman acknowledged shooting Martin but said it was in self-defense. Attorneys for Martin's family have accused Zimmerman of racially profiling Martin and shooting him "in cold blood."

Robert Zimmerman Jr. said he was trying to make a larger point in his tweets about the "media and their honesty in portraying the person who encountered my brother February 26, 2012.

Letters to Zimmerman show split opinions

"We've been led to believe that it's a junior-high-school-aged person because of the pictures," he said, referring to Martin.

"The analogy is these are two people who chose to represent themselves in this way. One was accused of killing a baby, and whatever's in his social media makes the rounds immediately ... However, the other person who almost killed my brother had he disarmed him -- my brother had every indication to believe he would have killed him -- his social media is off limits."

Chief witness in Martin case lied under oath

Zimmerman's tweets prompted a response from his brother's defense team.

Attorney Mark O'Mara told CNN's "Starting Point" Thursday morning that Robert Zimmerman doesn't represent his brother or his defense.

"Having said that, I'm not sure where (Robert's) heart was, but I've always said for the past year that we have to have a conversation about race, and the Zimmerman case has brought it to the forefront, particularly the way young black males are treated in the system," O'Mara said. "These type of tweets ... were insensitive to that, and quite honestly are the opposite of what I hope the conversation would be to try and figure out what's wrong with the system and maybe a good way to fix it."

O'Mara said he worries about how Robert Zimmerman's tweets will affect George's case.

"Everything that happens in this case is, if not overblown, hyper-focused upon, so that everything that George says or does is important," O'Mara said "... And certainly when a family member of my client says something that comes across as totally insensitive -- if not much, much worse -- (it) has an effect, and now we have to deal with it."

Opinion: Trayvon Martin did not die in vain

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