Zimmerman still in spotlight

After acquittal, Florida man can't avoid attention.
Associated Press
Sep 15, 2013

 

Whether they think that he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer "standing his ground," many Americans can't seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can't seem to stop giving it to them.

So it's hardly surprising that everything Zimmerman does produces a Twitterverse explosion and spins out into heavy news coverage. Comedian Deon Cole nailed it during an appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" a couple of days after the July 13 verdict. Merely being found not guilty, he said of Zimmerman, "doesn't mean that you're a free man."

He certainly hasn't been free from the spotlight.

• Two stops for speeding.

• A cellphone photo of a smiling Zimmerman touring the Florida factory where the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol used in the February 2012 shooting was made.

• And, this week, police dash-cam footage of Zimmerman kneeling in the street to be cuffed after an alleged scuffle with his estranged wife and father-in-law.

Like gangster Al Capone going to Alcatraz for tax evasion and O.J. Simpson serving time for robbing some sports memorabilia dealers, some interpret this series of unfortunate events as part of some cosmic comeuppance for a wannabe cop.

But is he a kind of George Ziggy-man, perpetually stalked by storm clouds, or more like one of those California wildfires, creating his own weather patterns?

Seems like a little bit of both, according to crisis management expert Mark McClennan.

"How does he keep resetting his 15 minutes of fame?" said the Boston-area consultant, who's on the Public Relations Society of America's board of directors. "I'd say it's a two-way street."

Granted, Zimmerman didn't expect his visit to the Kel-Tec CNC Industries factory in Cocoa, Fla., to be a public event. Zimmerman has turned down all Associated Press interview requests since his trial, and his lawyers didn't respond to messages about this story. But Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for the law firm that defended Zimmerman, told Yahoo News of the factory visit: "That was not part of our public relations plan."

But McClennan wasn't surprised when TMZ published a photo of Zimmerman shaking hands with a Kel-Tec employee — and Zimmerman shouldn't have been, either.

"Instead of being a 24-hour news cycle, it's now a 24-second news cycle for anything to spring up," said McClennan, a senior vice president at Schwartz MSL. "You need to be careful of what you're doing. ... And if there's anything you do that is newsworthy or interesting, people are going to write about it, talk about it, share about it, tweet it, put it on YouTube — because it's going to drive clicks, drive interest, and it's going to spread virally."

It's not just his public outings and repeated brushes with the legal system that have kept Zimmerman in the spotlight. Martin's parents were prominent participants in last month's 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington, and several civil rights leaders have called for the repeal of "stand-your-ground" laws, which generally remove a person's duty to retreat if possible in the face of danger.

Even when he helped extricate a family from an overturned SUV in July, Zimmerman couldn't catch a break.

The grateful couple canceled a news conference, defense attorney Mark O'Mara said, "for the possibility of blowback against them." People immediately suggested the incident was staged — or at least poked fun at the timing.

"Let's get this straight," Nigel Stevens wrote on the site www.opposingviews.com. "Zimmerman, in his only documented venture into the real world, heroically transforms into Volunteer Paramedic and rescues someone from deadly circumstances. Is this really happening? Aaron Sorkin and Steven Spielberg couldn't have collaborated to come up with that ending. "

Stevens — after dubbing Zimmerman "the most vilified man in America" — went on to suggest the next acts on the watchman's "Karmic Redemption Tour": Providing emergency childbirth assistance to Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, balancing Detroit's budget and capturing NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Zimmerman certainly has his supporters. Several groups launched petition drives urging the Department of Justice not to pursue federal civil rights charges against him.

"The jury has spoken and found that the prosecution failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that George Zimmerman had malice or racism in his heart or even a reckless disregard for Trayvon Martin's life when he shot the teenager," declared a petition on dickmorris.rallycongress.com. "The Justice Department should now butt out."

But the trial seems to have set in motion some forces that are beyond Zimmerman's control.

In late August, Shellie Zimmerman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband's arrest. Last week, she filed for divorce, and felt compelled to tell the world about it. On ABC's "Good Morning America," she called her husband "selfish" and accused him of leaving her with "a bunch of pieces of broken glass" after the acquittal.

Zimmerman blames the trial for the implosion of his marriage, lawyers have said. His wife's attorney, Kelly Sims, said the couple have been on a "Tower of Terror" — an apparent reference to the harrowing, "Twilight Zone"-themed ride at nearby Walt Disney World — since the shooting and had spent only a few days together before the divorce filing.

But was it wise for Zimmerman to go to the home Monday and take photos while his wife and her family were there gathering belongings?

O'Mara said Zimmerman needs to be a lot more "circumspect" about what he does, since every action is "hyper-focused on and scrutinized."

"I understand they're not private individuals anymore — never by their own doing," said O'Mara, who continues to handle Zimmerman's defamation lawsuit against NBC but does not intend to represent him if any charges result from this investigation. "Now, with everything that has happened in the past year and a half, it would be very nice if we could let them separate and divorce as they need to in two separate paths because they've decided they can't live together."

Zimmerman may be his own worst enemy. Defense attorney Barry Scheck notes that trouble often simply begets more trouble.

"The pressure from the situation often adds an additional distortion to their behavior," said Scheck, a co-director of the Innocence Project, and part of the "dream team" that helped win Simpson's acquittal on charges of killing his ex-wife and a friend. "So it's a very difficult situation, and I think the people that have been most successful with it are the ones that have a clear sense of what they're about and just stick to it."

McClennan insists that no reputation — not even Zimmerman's — is "irreparably beyond repair."

"In crisis management ... once you resolve the fundamental issues, you go into purgatory for a while, where you start building it again and you start making the positives," he said. "But any one misstep can bring it right back to the beginning again, and you've got to start building all over again."

Purgatory, at least in Catholic theology, suggests a temporary expiation on the way to a state of grace. Dr. Patrick Williams, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Institute for Life Coach Training, isn't so sure Zimmerman is heading in that direction.

Watching Zimmerman leading up to the trial, Williams said he saw "somebody who thought he did the community a favor, you know. Like he was some hero."

Williams said Zimmerman could certainly use some guidance, but the doctor doesn't see him "as a coachable person" as long as he keeps repeating the same old patterns.

"You know, the biggest predictor of your future is your past," he said. "If he doesn't get charged on this case, there'll be something else. I think people kind of create their reality. And I'm not sure he's learned to make good choices."

Martin's parents have declined to weigh in on Zimmerman's continuing legal troubles and what it all means. But their attorney, Benjamin Crump, noted that they "have always leaned on their faith through this whole ordeal.

"And they've always said that the killer of their unarmed child would have to answer to a higher authority."

___

Breed reported from Raleigh, N.C. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AllenGBreed.

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khightower.

 

Comments

bondgirlM

Why don't you print the WHOLE story. He was not even taken into custody because his wife admitted she lied about him hitting her father, having a gun and how her iPAD was broken. His wife is the hot mess. She lied about money in their possession at the time the court requested the information during his bail hearing. Also since when did it become illegal to own a gun or tour a factory where guns are produced? OH that's right, ever since the left has deemed it so. Where is the story how George Zimmerman saved a family from an accident by pulling each and every victim from the vehicle. Oh that's right that would have painted him in a positive light and the liberal drive by's just could never do that. It is obvious that you guys have to make him be an evil maniac even if you have to print half truths.

Stop It

Associated Press

That says it all.

Minuteman

Exactly, the news is all tabloid style anymore. They are banking on the diminshed mindset of the public. Easily swayed, 3 seconds of attention span, and led around by the nose. That's why they are keeping Zimmerman in the news, he isn't doing it. It also keeps the heat off the politicians they support. I just heard George has a taillight out on his truck. Update by the big 3 news at 6! CNN is sending a crew out.

Benghazi? That's not news, Justin Beiber's haircut is.

bondgirlM

Amen we had a President and a Secretary of State that allowed 4 men to be sodomized and murdered and NOTHING. George Zimmerman gets a speeding ticket and the world is coming to an end. Where are the priorities?

Doug7880

just amazing how things like this work. But I must say I'm not that shocked any more.

JudgeMeNot

Zimmerman should change his last name to Benghazi. Then no one would ever mention his name again.

arnmcrmn

Leave this innocent man alone already.

JudgeMeNot

You can't flim flam the Zim zam.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

100 internets to you.

The Big Dog's back

A time bomb waiting to go off. Why do you right wingers support murderers?

Doug7880

Oh big dog think of what you just said. He has been found NOT guilty so he is not kill anyone in the eyes of the court and your comments show how wrong on so many levels.

JudgeMeNot

@The Big Dope's back

It seems as though you witnessed the crime! Why didn't you come forward and give a police a description of what really happened?

Doug7880

it seems to be a crime in BD's own mind

bondgirlM

Why do you support Obama when he stands by and allows terrorists to murder 4 men in Benghazi. Let's talk. Zimmerman was clearly exonerated by a jury of his peers. Obama has brought no one forward to be punished in Benghazi.

Erie County Resident

Right wingers as you call them don't support Obama.

Doug7880

On the day this happened CNN played the 911 call. It was wild how she played the officer for her gain. Even I could tell she was full of crap. He had 2 bodyguards, why would they allow him do do half of what she said just shows how far she would go to fake things for her gain.

The Big Dog's back

He had a gun, the police never searched him. Watch the video.

Doug7880

It is not against the law for him to carry a gun. Did you see every step the police went through or just what the news wants to see.

Doug7880

even here in Ohio it is not against the law to carry a gun loaded or unloaded in public. Not having a CCW I can carry a loaded gun in public IN PLAIN SIGHT OF ANYONE and be legal. Learn your laws before running off at the mouth.

The Big Dog's back

When you are a suspect in a crime they search you for weapons. Watch the video.

Doug7880

I have seen video of that day and have yet to see one where the police first pulled up and walked up to him with guns on him like his wife said in the 911 call. If you have other video point it out and let everyone see it. If not stop making up things.

The Big Dog's back

http://livewire.talkingpointsmem...

If you weren't smart enough to find it, how can you be smart enough to see the cops never patted him down when they cuffed him?

Doug7880

You can't find what is not there. The man is not guilty of a crime and you just can't deal with it. Stop trying to make something out of nothing. You can't get over a young punk being dead. Proof came out in the trial. DEAL WITH THE LOSS.

Erie County Resident

BD your stupidity is showing, put your helmet back on.
Frisking in the middle of the street isn't proper procedure and I'm not going to explain why to you.

deertracker

One day Karma will come calling!

JudgeMeNot

Walk on Zimmer. Make them vomit in their own mouths.

Use your gun if needed.

arnmcrmn

Amen Judge. These liberals just do not get how the guilty/innocent thing works. They would of been more happier if Zimm let this thug smash his skull in to the point where he was a vegetable or dead. Karma will get you deer for posting such trash.

JudgeMeNot

Zimmerman should change his last name to Benghazi. Then no one would ever mention his name again.

Contango

Our system of justice has made it's decision, WAY PAST time to move it along.

AEversole

You people an certainly bond girl are disturbing and foolish as hell. Y'all are so blinded by political affiliations that you seem to miss the major points.... Zimmerman shot a unarmed kid that was not committing any crime, that may not have been murder but it certainly was negligence and should have resulted in some time... he killed a kid, what if that was your kid that was followed, attacked, and shot by a grown man that was told to not pursue that young man...He was not protecting his property or family, he was suffering from this cowboy, paranoia, that made him think this kid was doing something wrong, because he was black and in his neighborhood.. he like many people think that black people, or people with baggy pants and there underwear showing are gangsters and criminals.. If that child was mine he would be wishing he was behind bars. Wrong or not. Untill people can put there party to the side and choose the best person for the job, or here the issue at hand before making up their mind, we are not going to see the change that we want and so desperately need. . . We cant even see past our party to elect a person that is not from the two major parties.... that independant has no Chance in our current system.. wake up people, do what is right, fair, honest, and treat people as you treat your self and we would be much better off

Stop It

Thanx for the sermon, Reverend.

grumpy

"Zimmerman shot a unarmed kid that was not committing any crime,"

If that were true he would have been found guilty. The jury agreed with the contention that Zimmerman was in fear for his life or great bodily harm and had his head bashed on concrete sidewalk. That is a crime.

If the judge presiding in the case did not agree with the finding he could have set it aside.

The rest about the case is just your opinion. None of us know what was in his mind... no matter how much and often we say we do.

I agree with you about electing 3rd party candidates. I haven't voted nor backed or spoke for a dim or repube for president for the last 3 presidential elections. I voted 3rd party. Reason I didn't vote for Ron Paul last time was he was too dam^ old.

grumpy

doubled

44846GWP

He's going to be just like O.J., he will end up in Prison.

Julie R.

Zimmerman is a bully two-bit thug.

bondgirlM

you could only hope he comes across as such. Sorry not working.

arnmcrmn

defended himself from a thug about to kill him and HE is the thug. Oh how stupid people are.

Julie R.

To reiterate ---- George Zimmerman is a two-bit thug.

Nemesis

Yes, Julie, because if you repeat it enough times, it becomes true. Is that why you keep repeating your sad tale of woe?

arnmcrmn

Yeah Julie, just keep your hands over your ears and say it over and over and over....it might sink in. Better yet, click your rose red slippers together and maybe it will come true.

Hes an innocent man who defended himself.

Centauri

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

"Police called Ferrell and Kerrick's initial encounter "appropriate and lawful." But in their statement late Saturday, they said "the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive" and "Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter."

Police said Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter, which under North Carolina law involves killing without malice using "excessive force" in exercising "imperfect self-defense."

Will the main stream news media make a big stink about this?

Unassumer

It's obvious that Zimmerman is a person with a violent temper and it was always obvious to me that he killed a teenager for little apparent reason. That he got off scot free is abominable, and he belongs in jail. I hope that his next incident/altercation gets him there.

grumpy

"It's obvious that Zimmerman is a person with a violent temper and it was always obvious to me that he killed a teenager for little apparent reason."

What is obvious is, you don't live up to the name you have chosen.

gramafun

what amazed me is that the court didn't answer the questions of the jurors with much satisfaction. I can't help but wonder had they done so would they have had a different outcome in Zimmerman's trial?

Even with such speculation as that, the lies his wife told on the 911 call and the terrible way she handled things makes me wonder why they didn't arrest BOTH of them on the scene. At the very least, she should go to jail for her lies. Did he hide his gun in his truck? I see his lawyer dumped him. Is he tired of Zimmerman like most of America is?

Whatever is going on, this guy needs more press like I need more acid indigestion. Why both to give either of them more press. Let them die on the vine. They deserve on another.

grumpy

"what amazed me is that the court didn't answer the questions of the jurors with much satisfaction. I can't help but wonder had they done so would they have had a different outcome in Zimmerman's trial?"

The judge is limited as to what they can say to answer questions from a jury. if they step outside the lines they will at least open up a path for being sanctioned by a judicial review. They could be fined or even forced to quit. You would have to know a LOT more about the law than I to know what a judge can and can't tell a jury.

"I see his lawyer dumped him. Is he tired of Zimmerman like most of America is?"

Zimmerman owes him a million dollars in legal fees. He won't be paid till his payday from ABC News for altering the phone call and pictures that Zimmerman is suing them about. Few people can afford to not be paid that amount of money for long periods of time. He probably doesn't want to run up more bills from anyone, let alone more from someone who owes him that kind of money.

grumpy

I have gotten a few doubles lately. I need to make sure I am not double clicking.

Doug7880

This seems to happen all the time to a lot of people. Most of us overlook this because we know it happens.

arnmcrmn

People still do not know or want to accept the facts of the case.

Zimm stopped following when the dispatcher told him so. Martin circled back around to AND ATTACKED Zimm as evidence proved.

Justice served. Live on Zimm, live on.

JudgeMeNot

Zimmerman should change his last name to Benghazi. Then no one would ever mention his name again.

Rosa

Thank you AE, these people are crazy....

arnmcrmn

Hey AEversole.........forgetting the facts again eh? Zim followed him for a short time and when he was told to stop he did. He returned to his car. Now go to the phone call between Martin and (other person on the line)....where he was quoted as saying to this friend...."Im going to go back and teach that cracker a lesson".

Zim was the one attacked and the evidence showed just that. He defended himself against a THUG, bottom line.

Of course, the liberals on here would of been much more satisfied if Zimm just let Martin smash his head into the ground until he was dead or a veggie......right liberals?

Imagine if that was your brother or sister getting their head smashed in by some punk who portrayed himself as some gangster thug all over FB and every other social media outlet. The kid should of kept walking and this would of never of happened.

The lesson here is when you start a fight with someone, the result might not be in your favor.