Idaho’s Riverside Hotel canceled a gun conference that was scheduled to take place last week after it became aware George Zimmerman had been booked as a speaker. Zimmerman, who fatally shot unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin in 2012, was acquitted in the killing that sparked a national outcry.
According to Idaho Press, the “Lethal Force Gun Laws 2021” was being organized by JB Herren of the Old School Gun School. And it was scheduled to take place at the hotel from November 5 to 8. A webpage promoting the event is no longer available.
In an Instagram post, Riverside Hotel said employees got to know Zimmerman had been booked to speak at the conference after people alerted them on social media. Organizers who book the hotel for events are typically not required to disclose their speakers. But the hotel said it will now make that mandatory.
“We recognize the immense pain that George Zimmerman has inflicted on many of our guests, team-members and community,” the hotel said in the post. “With their respect and safety as our priority, we have canceled our event.”
The conference was charging $3,995 for early bird sitting for four days, or $4,995 for another package, the event’s deleted webpage stated, per Idaho Press. That package covered a 5-night stay as well as meals, “including select private lunches and dinner with our speakers.”
“WHY is this Conference so important?” the conference’s deleted webpage reportedly asked. “Because we help good people create a plan to DOMINATE and END an otherwise inescapable deadly assault and THEN, we help them learn how to Defend and Justify their actions in the courtroom.”
“Have you ever wondered what really happened that night?” the page asked in reference to Zimmerman’s fatal encounter with Martin. “The only person that knows the absolute truth of what really happened is George Zimmerman himself,” the page continued, adding that Zimmerman would be at the event to explain what occured “step-by-step.”
Then a neighborhood watch volunteer, Zimmerman fatally shot Martin in Florida in 2012. The Black teen was unarmed and had just left a convenience store after buying candy during a visit to his father’s home.
Zimmerman, who was arrested and tried for the shooting was, however, acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges by a grand jury under the state of Florida’s stand-your-ground law.
Martin’s death triggered protests against racial discrimination and profiling in the United States. It was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Black Lives Matter Movement.