SANFORD, Fla.–George Zimmerman, recently acquitted of sixteen charges brought against him in the shooting death of an unarmed black youth, is now being criticized for fraudulent heroism. Six days ago Mr. Zimmerman, 29, helped to rescue a family of four trapped in a burning, overturned SUV, according to ABC News.
Although national reports of the rescue have been slow and sketchy, Sanford Police Department Captain Jim McAuliffe told ABC News that Mr. Zimmerman was one of two men who had helped a man, his wife, and their two children trapped inside their blue Ford Explorer at the intersection of I-4 and Route 417 in Florida.
Sean Vincent, a spokesman for Zimmerman’s legal team, told the New York Daily News, which covered the story on page 18 of today’s edition, that Mr. Zimmerman was driving when he saw the overturned vehicle and pulled over to help.
“George was able to help the family get out of the car before the first responders got there.”
A spokeswoman for ABC News explained their delay in reporting on this incident.
“We had to make sure that Mr. Zimmerman did, indeed, play a role in the family’s rescue. The media has an obligation not to rush to judgment in matters like these.”
Sources ranging all the way to the White House have commented on Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal, but he has maintained silence all the while. One rumor even said that Mr. Zimmerman had applied to change his name legally to George Z. Before taking part in the rescue, he had not been seen in public for nearly a week.
“It’s not about me,” Mr. Zimmerman said before leaving the scene of the rescue. “Our nation needs time to grieve properly over the death of that young man whom I shot in self-defense.”
Given the hyperventilated responses to Mr. Zimmerman’s acquittal, it is perhaps not surprising that some observers were critical of his rescue effort.
“Creepy-ass cracker probably stalked the family in their vehicle,” said MCNBS personality Al Sharpton. “I wouldn’t put it past him to stage the entire rescue. I guess he’s gonna be a neighborhood fire watch captain now. You know how those damn people like to start fires.”
Newspaper columnist Eugene Robinson, a frequent guest on MSNBC, said that Zimmerman “needs to be careful about approaching overturned, burning vehicles with people trapped inside. Given the fact that he has killed once, he might have frightened those innocent people to death if they were black, which I hope they weren’t.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said that despite his “allegedly” heroic deed, Mr. Zimmerman should “still sleep with one eye open. Our department is hoping to bring twenty-five civil charges against this murderer. We also have reason to believe he has been fishing with an expired license. He could do serious time for that.”
Finally, President Obama, when he was asked to comment on this event, replied, “That could have been me in that SUV.”
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