The family rescued by George Zimmerman on a Florida highway has chosen to stay silent on the incident.
The Gerstle family backed out of a press conference they had planned for Wednesday afternoon at the law offices of Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara. Just hours before the scheduled event, they changed their minds, opting to stay out of the media spotlight.
“They were very worried, and I think were advised by some family and friends, that they really should not get involved with anything having to do with George Zimmerman,” O’Mara said Wednesday while speaking to reporters.
He added, “That’s really sad, that they can’t even say that George did something good for them because people out there believe that he’s still so toxic even though he’s been acquitted.”
In a statement to msnbc, Heather Smith of the Seminole City Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday the family is “not comfortable doing interviews at this time and they continue to ask the media to please respect their privacy.”
Local authorities confirmed Zimmerman and another man came to the aid of Mark and Dana Gerstle along with their two kids after the family’s Ford Explorer SUV flipped over about 5:45pm ET on July 17 while traveling off the highway in near Sanford, Florida. The two men helped the trapped family of four get out of the overturned vehicle.
No significant injuries were reported following the accident, which occurred close to the intersection of Interstate 4 and State Road 46–not far from the location of Trayvon Martin’s death on February 26, 2012.
The former neighborhood watch volunteer has been in hiding since his acquittal less than two weeks ago on second degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin’s shooting. Zimmerman said he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
“I will acknowledge it was awfully coincidental four or five days after the verdict, but it was not set up, or staged. Really, do you think that we would have set up a family of four on the side [of the highway], destroying an SUV?” said O’Mara.
Protests have been held across the country in reaction to the controversial verdict.
Correction 8:35 p.m. – An earlier version referred to the site of Trayvon Martin’s death as the site of his murder.