LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Robert Zimmerman, whose brother, George, is awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida, told a Southland television station today that his family is not racist.

“I’m trying to re-introduce our family in the right light,” Zimmerman said in an interview on Fox 11.

George Zimmerman, 28, is free on bail and awaiting trial in the Feb. 26 shooting death. He has acknowledged shooting Martin but maintains he acted in self defense.

Robert Zimmerman began by reading a statement:
“I must begin by stating that the only persons qualified or authorized to speak on matters regarding the legal proceedings involving my brother, George Zimmerman, are his attorneys,” Zimmerman said. “They are the only ones who will speak on his behalf. My words are based on my recollection and are my attempt to illustrate the original sentiments of my parents, my sister and myself at the time of the incident. …”

Zimmerman said his family was not able to directly contact Martin’s family privately after the shooting.

“If there had been an opportunity immediately following Trayvon’s passing for his family to hear from the members of the Zimmerman family they had not yet heard from, we would have expressed our condolences on the loss of their son and brother,” he said.

“The truth is that we would never take comfort in the knowledge that any human being has passed away, no matter what the circumstances surrounding their death may be.”

Zimmerman was asked if he was embarking on a PR campaign.

“I’m trying to re-introduce our family in the right light,” he answered. “I think for a long time we didn’t have any control of how we were being portrayed as a family and (our) whole family has paid a price for that.”

Zimmerman said his brother had been wrongly portrayed in news reports as a racist a vigilante, and that his race was wrongly reported as “White”–not Hispanic.

“George was a college student; George was a mentor to children; George was a homeless advocate,” Zimmerman said. “He was anything but a ‘neighborhood watch captain’–certainly not ‘self-appointed’–but that sells more newspapers, and it sounds better on the air, and that’s why the media referred to him (that way) from the beginning: to keep the story running.”