Did George Zimmerman really save a family of four after their SUV rolled over on a Florida highway? Despite what the conspiracy theorists say, the community watchman’s attorney said the incident was not staged to make Zimmerman, who has drawn the ire of a large segment of the population, look like a hero.
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead attorney while on trial for murder and manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin, acknowledged that the timing of Zimmerman’s rescue was uncanny but denied that the incident was set up to portray Zimmerman in a favorable light.
"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?" O’Mara said Wednesday, according to Orlando television station WESN. "Those who want to believe it's staged, they can go ahead and believe that. They can believe the Earth is flat.”
The family in the SUV, later identified as the Gerstles of Port Orange, Fla., needed help after family patriarch Mark Gerstle lost control of the vehicle and it overturned last week near Orlando. Zimmerman was nearby and assisted the family.
The Gerstles backed out of holding a news conference Wednesday to thank Zimmerman, O’Mara told WESN, because they didn’t want to associate themselves with the controversial figure, who was acquitted earlier this month of murder and manslaughter charges in the February 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
"They were just concerned that their involvement, having anything to do with George Zimmerman, may cause them blowback," O’Mara said.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office did not get into specifics of why the Gerstles backed out in a statement released Wednesday. "They have expressed to us that they are not comfortable doing media interviews at this time and they continue to ask for privacy," the statement said, according to ABC News.
Since the sheriff’s office publicly announced Zimmerman’s rescue earlier this week, social media lit up with conspiracy theories surrounding the situation, including one saying Zimmerman caused the accident. Others suggested it was staged to help Zimmerman’s public image.
Howard Koplowitz reports on crime and breaking news events for International Business Times. Howard formerly worked on IBT's continuous news desk, where he covered trending...