George Zimmerman (Reuters/Joe Burbank)

White supremacist George Zimmerman defender flip-flops, says he should have been found guilty

Tough-talking Frank Taaffe now claims he believes that Trayvon Martin was racially profiled


David Neiwert
May 17, 2014 6:00PM (UTC)
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center Frank Taaffe, the tough-talking friend of George Zimmerman who appeared on multiple TV programs to defend the Florida man’s actions in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, has had an apparent change of heart.

Taaffe, who has a history as a white supremacist as well as a criminal background, told a reporter for Orlando, Fla.’s News 13 that he now believes that Zimmerman “racially profiled” Martin the day he was shot, and that he should have been found guilty by the jury that eventually acquitted him last year.

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Taaffe during one of his many cable news appearances

“What I know of George and his tendencies and also my opinion is that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin that night because if that had been a white kid on a cell phone, walking through our neighborhood, he wouldn’t have stayed on him the way he did and that’s a fact and I believe that in my heart,” Taaffe told reporter John Davis.

For many months, Taaffe said just the opposite, and did so on national television on numerous occasions, depicting Martin as a drug-addled, thuggish teenager and declaring Zimmerman’s innocence. “It’s really sad that he has already been convicted in the public media and has already been sentenced to the gas chamber,” he lamented in an interview with NBC’s Miami affiliate.

Taaffe said he’s now recanting his earlier statements in order to clear his conscience. “I can only ask for the country to forgive me, and today I believe that he racially profiled him based on the color of his skin.”

Davis said that some “may wonder what does Frank Taaffe have to gain by doing this,” before asking if he was was working on a book or TV show. Taaffe said no, “I’m just working on me right now and getting right with God.”

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Taaffe told Davis that he was driven to reassess his views after the death of his brother last month, as well as his two sons’ deaths in recent years. He added a message for Trayvon Martin’s parents: “I’m sorry that you lost your son, I know what that’s like and I wish things had been different.”

It was not clear whether Taaffe now has similar regrets over the crudely racist things he uttered on air while campaigning on Zimmerman’s behalf – most notably on the white nationalist podcast “The White Voice.” On that show, he attacked Oprah Winfrey as a “nigger” and said “the only time that a Black life is vindicated is when a White person kills them.”


David Neiwert

David Neiwert is an investigative journalist and author based in Seattle, whose most recent book is And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border (Nation Books). He has won a National Press Club award for his reportage on domestic terrorism, and is also known for his work as the senior editor of the popular political blog Crooks and Liars.

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