Forney City Manager Brian Brooks is usually busy with budget issues in July, but on Wednesday, he was handling media calls about a traveler who just happened to stop in his town.On Sunday, George Zimmerman, recently acquitted of a murder charge in the high-profile Trayvon Martin case in Florida, was pulled over by a Forney police officer on U.S. 80 about 20 miles east of Dallas. He was headed west in a 2008 Honda SUV with Florida license plates.The 12:45 p.m. traffic stop was recorded by the officer’s dash-cam video camera, which was released to the media. It ends with Zimmerman getting a warning and being sent on his way. Brooks declined to identify the officer. Last month, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in the fatal shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, on a street in Sanford, Fla.Brooks said it’s apparent in the video that Zimmerman volunteered to the officer that he had a gun in the glove box of the SUV. Zimmerman opened the glove box, the officer looked inside and, satisfied, the officer asked him to shut it.“I think that was all in the normal protocol for people with handgun permits,” Brooks said. “They know what to do.” Florida and Texas have reciprocity agreements for concealed carry gun permits.The gun Zimmerman shot Martin with remains in custody of the federal government, which is looking into a possible civil-rights case. A civil-rights group has petitioned the state of Florida to suspend Zimmerman’s concealed carry permit. Robert Zimmerman Jr. commented on Twitter on Wednesday about his brother’s decision to carry a gun. “Our family receives many death threats,” he tweeted. “We all continue to take our security seriously and to ensure our safety in accordance with the law.” Brooks said that at one point, the officer asked Zimmerman where he was headed.The response can’t be heard, but the officer replies: “Nowhere in particular? Why you say that?” “You didn’t see my name?” Zimmerman says. “Nuh-uh,” the officer says. “What a coincidence!” the officer says, then asks, “Are you clear of warrants and stuff?” “Absolutely sir,” Zimmerman says. Zimmerman then says something else unintelligible and the officer responds, “Calm down, man, you’re good.” The officer then said, “I’m going to go back [to check his license], and why don’t you slow down a little bit for me. We'll let you off with a warning.” The officer ran a check on Zimmerman’s license plates, and “everything was OK,” Brooks said.Brooks added that he did not know how fast Zimmerman was driving, but the speed limit is 60 mph on that stretch of highway. Forney, population about 16,000, has about two dozen police officers, Brooks said.“Admittedly, a lot of people go over 60, so this was nothing out of ordinary,” Brooks said. “It’s kind of funny, but a lot of people are saying, ‘Why didn’t he get a ticket?’ And I’ve been saying, ‘I don’t know; it’s the officer’s discretion.’“I know I’ve been pulled over and told to slow it down. I was grateful. You don’t question it.” This reports includes material from The Associated Press.
Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST