Frank Taaffe*The Department of Justice may still be investigating Trayvon Martin’s case to see whether his civil rights were violated, but a former friend of the man acquitted of the teen’s murder has changed his opinion about George Zimmerman’s innocence.

In an interview with News 13 Orlando, Frank Taaffe said that Zimmerman should have been found guilty of Martin’s murder. According to him, race did play a role in the tragedy.

“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 like he did, and that’s a fact and I believe that in my heart,” Taaffe said.

Taaffe’s change of heart directly conflicts with past comments he made in interviews about the case and Zimmerman.

“He wanted to ensure the safety in the community that he lived in and he became the victim,” Taaffe told News 13 in May 2012

The death of his brother and his two sons were the factors behind Taaffe changing his stance. Both death emotionally impacted Taaffe, who now asks for forgiveness for how he felt in the past.

“I can only ask for the country to forgive me and today I believe he racially profiled him based on the color of his skin,” he said while expressing his condolences to Martin’s parents. “I’m sorry that you lost your son. I know what that’s like and I wish things were different.”