Distressed President Zimmer Forcibly Removed from O'Hare Airport for Soliciting Donations
An arrest report released today by the Chicago Police Department confirmed that University President Robert J. Zimmer was detained and later forcibly removed from a flight at O’Hare International Airport for soliciting donations without a permit. This follows earlier reports from travelers who claimed they observed Zimmer begging for financial assistance in a “rather undignified manner.”
The CPD report documents three alleged cases of harassment wherein Zimmer is accused of groveling at the feet of international travelers who just wanted to fly in peace. It suggests that Zimmer hid in the first-class bathroom with the door unlocked, waiting to assail unsuspecting business-class passengers with requests for donations and yearly contributions to the endowment, as well as to be personally included in their estates.
Zimmer, who entered the terminal under the pretense of travelling to a free speech conference, was visibly distressed at the time of his arrest according to the report. Officers wrote that, “[Zimmer] was resisting arrest and alternating between muted babbling and aggravated shouting about a shrinking endowment.”
Airline officials declined to comment on the incident, citing their longstanding policy to protect the privacy of customers at their own discretion. However, several passengers posted cellphone footage online which showed a disheveled and panicked Zimmer aggressively approaching travelers who looked like they might be able to help him out.
Though Zimmer had a letter opener on his person at the time of his arrest, earlier claims that stated he had threatened officers turned out to be false. However, the report does allege one count of attempting to bribe an officer. Cellphone footage posted by another passenger confirmed that he offered to name a building on campus after the police officers detaining him if they would allow him to stay on the plane.
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