George Zimmerman's heroic car crash rescue appears to be a fraud - Updated
This was a suspicious story from the beginning.
We have seen news reports of protesters doing thousands of dollars of damage to be wrong. The claims of separate attacks by protesters over the Zimmerman verdict turned out to be false. Now added to the list of false news reports appears to be the story of George Zimmerman heroically rescuing a family of four from a burning SUV.The initial report was that George Zimmerman was 'just coincidentally' driving by after a car accident occurred, that he leaped out of his vehicle, fire extinguisher in hand, to come to the rescue of the family of four trapped inside as the vehicle caught fire, pulling them to safety. That was followed by the claim that the family he rescued had planned a press event to thank George Zimmerman, but that they canceled due to threats from Trayvon Martin supporters.
It appears they may have canceled the event because they did not want to be part of the fraud of making Zimmerman out to be a hero, when that story was not precisely true.
What did occur was that an accident occurred where a car slid on it's side into a median. People at the scene called 911, which went to the Sanford office of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. BEFORE responding to the 911 call, News Ball.com reports that Seminole Sheriff's Dept. Officer Patrick Rehder, a self-styled friend and supporter of Zimmerman, contacted Zimmerman by cell phone directing him to go to the accident so as to appear to be a hero. News Ball.com also provides a social media screen capture of a curious statement about Rehder taking pleasure when someone gets credit for something they did not do.
Rehder's name appears on the accident report as the responding officer; social media shows his connection to Zimmerman.
I have contacted Newsball.com, seeking to verify with their source the claim about the phone records for myself, offering the same confidentiality protection they do. That is still a work in progress. I'm also attempting to verify information relating to this and other statements made by the SCSO with the SCSO, but so far have come up against recorded messages. I will persevere for more answers during normal business hours on Monday 7/29.
There were plenty of people driving by who witnessed the accident, and stopped to help the family out of the vehicle, IMMEDIATELY when the accident happened, who saw the accident as it happened, BEFORE Zimmerman showed up, according to the 911 calls, but no 'thank you' press conference mentioning anyone else by name specifically was scheduled by the family, and no mention of anyone other than Zimmerman was made by the sheriff.
This was presented as a rescue from a burning SUV, but CLEARLY everyone was out well before any possible fire was detected, per the 911 calls. And if a vehicle is on fire - and this might have just been radiator steam, no color of 'smoke' is mentioned - the best that someone could do with one of the small fire extinguishers designed to be carried in vehicles could at best only put out a small electrical fire, which is not usually what is meant by a burning car crash or a fiery accident. The fire aspect, which so far is unconfirmed, and not mentioned in the official accident report filed by Officer Rehder. Rehder mentions the car's brakes, he mentions the tire wear, he mentions that the air bags did not deploy. NO mention is made of any fire, which would seem to contradict by the omission that this was a 'fiery car crash'.
Zimmerman showed up AFTER he was called by a SCSO member according to a report at News Ball.com, Zimmerman then got out of his car with a fire extinguisher, and apparently left without doing anything especially heroic. You can hear the course of events here in the 911 calls; many people who were there as the accident happened stopped to get people out, and the fire and smoke problem from the calls, appeared some time after they were out of the car. As you can hear from the calls, people were out before there was a smoke or fire problem; Zimmerman did not appear to risk his life to pull anyone out of a burning car, as was claimed. :
So, we have the claim that George Zimmerman just happened to be at the accident several days after his verdict called into question. We have established a relationship between George Zimmerman and the responding officer. We have a discrepancy between the claimed role of Zimmerman and both the 911 calls and the accident report filed by Zimmerman supporter Officer Rehder.
We have the actual extraction of the people in the accident by multiple citizens coming to the rescue who witnessed the accident, according to the 911 calls, we have the report in 911 calls that everyone was OUT of the vehicle for some time before there was any question of smoke or fire, and we have the sheriff and the victim ONLY mentioning George Zimmerman - by name. But there is no mention by anyone, especially the Sheriff's office, of the other 'good samaritans' who appear to have done the actual hard part of helping people out of the car lying on its side.
We have no independent verification that Zimmerman was even there, much less that he did anything heroic. No photos, no cell phone video, no police video, no other people who were present as indicated by the 911 calls that support that Zimmerman was there, or did what was claimed - that he pulled people from a flaming car wreck.
That seems distinctly odd, on top of the suspicious timing of this heroic Zimmerman rescue. Enough strange and implausible quirks make this SUV accident rescue appear fake.
What we also have is at least one additional donation to Zimmerman in the amount of $12,000 dollars to buy more guns. It is reasonable to assume that a report of Zimmerman heroically saving a family from a burning car crash would have a favorable affect on donations to Zimmerman as a 'good guy', not the opposite. In the larger context of timing and skepticism about the coincidence of the timing is that Zimmerman apparently needs the money, after his trial. The question of fraud and fakery, or at the very least exaggeration, has a direct connection to donations to him being larger or smaller.
THIS new challenge to Zimmerman's integrity in addition to the misrepresentation of funds donated when bail was set, as well as the conflicting statements made to police and in court, is why protesters both distrust BOTH George Zimmerman and the local Florida LEOs, and are protesting the validity of the trial verdict. It is also part of why there is opposition to the SYG laws that make it easier for someone to get away with homicide.
About the Author
Attended St Olaf College and the U of MN for journalism and speech communications, and the managing editor for Penigma.