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George Zimmerman verdict: Zimmerman will be "looking over his shoulder the rest of his life," brother says

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Thursday, July 11, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool
san francisco, protests, trayvon martin, george zimmerman
A picture of protests in San Francisco on June 13, 2013, from Twitter user @LisaMcIntire
Twitter user @LisaMcIntire

(CBS) SANFORD, Florida - Following George Zimmerman's acquittal Saturday night in the case of the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, the family of the former neighborhood watch volunteer says safety concerns linger after the verdict.

READ: Trayvon Martin Shooting: A timeline of events

PICTURES: George Zimmerman on trial in death of Fla. teen

"He has always feared for his safety, and we have always feared for his safety and our safety as a family," Robert Zimmerman, Jr., Zimmerman's brother, told CNN. "Clearly, he is a free man in the eyes of the court, but he's going to be looking around his shoulder for the rest of his life."

Zimmerman was cleared of second-degree murder charges by a jury of six women in the shooting death of Florida teen Martin. The jury also declined to convict him on a lesser included offense of manslaughter. The racially-charged case drew the national and international spotlight, and a 44-day gap between the Feb. 26, 2012, incident and Zimmerman's arrest led to national protests and calls for justice for Martin.

Zimmerman claimed he shot the teen in self-defense last year during an altercation in Zimmerman's Sanford, Fla., gated community, where he said persistent crime had prompted him to launch a neighborhood watch program. Many protestors said Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, racially profiled the black teen.

Under Florida law, now that Zimmerman has been acquitted and evidence is being released in the case, the 29-year-old will be able to retrieve he gun he used to shoot Martin, said Brian Tannebaum, president of the Florida Association of Bar Defense Lawyers and past president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara told an ABC News correspondent that Zimmerman needs the gun now "even more" than before.

Zimmerman will be allowed retrieve the weapon unless state or federal law enforcement officials seek to keep it, Tannebaum said.

Speaking on CNN, Robert Zimmerman, Jr. said factions remain who "want to take the law into their own hands" after the verdict.

"They think justice was not served and they won't respect a verdict no matter how it was reached," Zimmerman told CNN. "They will always present a threat to George and to his family."

Zimmerman defense attorney Mark O'Mara said there is still a "fringe element that wants revenge," the Associated Press reports.

Following the acquittal, a "Kill Zimmerman" Facebook page drew more than 6,600 likes, and some Twitter users tweeted using the hashtag, "#killzimmerman".

During court proceedings, Zimmerman didn't disclose where he was living for more than a year, and ventured outside only in disguise, CNN reports. The 29-year-old discussed purchasing bulletproof vests for himself, his wife Shellie and lawyer O'Mara in a recorded jailhouse conversation last year. And in a 2012 interview with Fox News television host Sean Hannity, Zimmerman said he had received multiple death threats.

"Do you feel your life is in jeopardy?" Hannity asked.

"Yes, sir," Zimmerman responded.

Speaking in an interview with ABC News, Zimmerman's parents, Robert and Gladys, said that they and their son have received death threats. The family hasn't disclosed the location of their residence even to close relatives, they said.

"I'm concerned, not only for Georgie, but for the whole family," Gladys Zimmerman told journalist Barbara Walters.

The verdict sparked protests in cities across the country, though the demonstrations were largely peaceful. However, some protestors in Oakland, Calif., vandalized a police squad car, spray-painted anti-police graffiti and attempted to start fires in the street, according to the AP.

Community leaders and police in Florida, national civil rights leaders, President Obama and an attorney for Martin's family, Benjamin Crump, have all urged peace in the wake of the verdict.

"For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful," Crump said.

Complete coverage of the George Zimmerman Trial-Trayvon Martin case on Crimesider


  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.