Pal Who Defended George Zimmerman Changes Tune

Frank Taaffe testifies for grand jury, thinks former friend may be racist after all
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2014 10:47 AM CST

"I'm going to go on camera and say George is not a racist" are words that Frank Taaffe now regrets saying about former pal George Zimmerman. Just two years ago, when the media frenzy was at a fever pitch following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Taaffe made an aggressive showing in front of the cameras, defending his neighbor and saying "[Zimmerman] became the victim," as reported by News 13. Now, as a grand jury hears a case this week to decide whether Zimmerman will face federal charges for violating Trayvon's civil rights, Taaffe—who testified before the grand jury yesterday—is saying that Zimmerman was probably in the wrong and just might be a racist after all, based on a mysterious phone call he received shortly after Martin's death, Raw Story reports.

Taaffe didn't recognize the number, and the caller, who said his name was "George," made a racially charged comment about Martin, Taaffe says. At first Taaffe thought it was a prank—"People knew my phone number, so it could've been anybody," he tells WFTV. He's not sure if it was Zimmerman, but he finally told investigators about it in June to make "amends to the Martin family" after his own two children and a brother died recently, and to mend things with his surviving child, who was "ostracized" for his Zimmerman advocacy. (Taaffe's somewhat-confusing explanation of all this is shown in the video here.) He now thinks Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon, saying, "In my heart of hearts, I do believe that." Even more bizarre: his own reported racist rantings and criminal rap sheet, according to a 2013 Mother Jones article. (Read more George Zimmerman stories.)

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