Family That Zimmerman Rescued Doesn't Want to Be Seen Talking About Him

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 24 2013 3:52 PM

Family That Zimmerman Rescued Doesn't Want to Be Seen Talking About Him

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George Zimmerman leaves the courtroom a free man after being found not guilty on the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center

Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman found his name back in the headlines earlier this week once word got out that he helped rescue a family of four from a rolled-over SUV in Florida. The news was a rare bit of good PR for the one-time neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and who has more or less been in hiding since he was acquitted of second-degree murder earlier this month. But it looks like Zimmerman won't get the chance to double up on any goodwill from his good deed. ABC News with the details:

The family rescued by George Zimmerman ... canceled a scheduled news conference today and is pleading for privacy. Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of Dana and Mark Gerstle and their two children, who were trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla., about 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The Gerstles were expected to hold a press conference today at the office of Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara, but canceled a few hours before it was supposed to take place. "They have expressed to us that they are not comfortable doing media interviews at this time and they continue to ask for privacy," the Seminole City Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
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O'Mara says that the Gerstles had originally wanted to take part in the press conference but ultimately backed out due to their fears of "blow back from saying anything that would be favorable" to Zimmerman. "That's really sad, you know, that they can't even say that George did something good for them because people out there believe that he's so toxic even though he's been acquitted," O'Mara said in a press gaggle recorded by Orlando's WESH.

O'Mara also addressed any skeptics that doubt the authenticity of the accident. "Those who want to believe it was staged, they can go right ahead and believe that, they can believe the earth is still flat," he said. "I will acknowledge it was coincidental four or five days after the verdict, but it was not set up, or staged. Really, do you think we would’ve set up a family of four on the side (of the road), destroying an SUV?"

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.