Soon after his brother George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Robert Zimmerman Jr. revealed last week that their family is forced to live in isolation for fear of those still angry with the verdict.
"You don't know if some one stops you in public and says, 'excuse me, sir,' you don't know if you dropped your wallet, or if someone recognizes you and wants to kill you," he told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview.
The Zimmerman family has been living in complete isolation since the verdict, only leaving the house when it's absolutely necessary.
"It taxes everyone's mind, knowing you have to stay in touch and in constant communication because of the threats," Mr. Zimmerman told Breitbart. "Are we doing everything to stay alive at home, and if any of us have to leave, are we doing everything we can to support each other?
"Anytime anyone goes out for anything, we all know about it. If my phone died, my family would be in a panic that they didn't hear from me," he added.
Mr. Zimmerman said the family receive the most death threats on social media.
"We have to monitor social media and the Internet to see if there are any rallies nearby that pose a specific threat, and we avoid them," he said, adding that the threats sometimes average 400 per minute.
Mr. Zimmerman found himself in a threatening situation in Washington, D.C., when Starbucks employees mistook him for his brother.
"I said, no, George is in jail. They started saying, 'We know you're Zimmerman; it's right here on the receipt' ... They pulled out their phones and started texting people and calling people. Someone finally noticed the receipt said Robert instead of George, or R instead of G, and they said 'Oh, it's not George Zimmerman' and they all calmed down. Someone then said 'Yeah, but you look like that [expletive], and if you were anyone of the Zimmermans, we were going to take you outside and beat the [expletive] out of you.' They were both Starbucks employees."
Mr. Zimmerman said his family is doing a good job at staying strong together, but living in isolation for so long is taking its toll.
"I'm not sure how to learn to trust or interact with people or how to break out of that," he said. "My concern is that there will never be a return to normal. At best, there will be a new normal, but that will always be plagued by concern over everyone we encounter."
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.