By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – Bids for an original oil painting by Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman reached nearly $100,000 in a single day after the artwork was posted on auction site eBay on Monday.
The 98th and leading bid stood at $99,966 as of Tuesday morning, with four more days to go in the auction. The painting depicts part of an American flag washed in blue, and includes the words “God,” “one nation,” and “with liberty and justice for all” printed in the flag stripes.
An opening day eight-hour bidding frenzy on the painting came to a halt at 6:21 p.m.on Monday, according to the auction site.
Orlando 24-hour news station Central Florida 13 reported that it confirmed the authenticity of painting through Zimmerman’s brother Robert. Robert Zimmerman did not immediately respond to an inquiry by Reuters.
A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman in July of murdering 17-year-old Martin, a black Miami high school student, in a case that polarized the nation around issues of racial justice, self defense and gun control.
In his eBay posting, Zimmerman described the 18-inch-by-24-inch auction item as “first hand painted artwork by me, George Zimmerman.”
Zimmerman added, “Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself. I found a creative, way to express myself, my emotions and the symbols that represent my experiences. My art work allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors I hope you enjoy owning this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it. Your friend, George Zimmerman.”
Prosecutors in 2012 accused Zimmerman of profiling, following and shooting Martin, a guest in a gated neighborhood in the town of Sanford, as Martin was returning from a trip to a convenience store to buy Skittles and iced tea. Zimmerman claimed self defense.
Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with law enforcement officials. He has twice been stopped for speeding, once in Texas and in Florida.
In September, Zimmerman was questioned by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he threatened her with a gun. He was not charged in the incident, which occurred a week after she filed for divorce.
Zimmerman was arrested in November on domestic violence charges which were dropped last week after his girlfriend withdrew her complaint.
(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Jane Sutton and Bob Burgdorfer)