City prepared for Rodney King-like riots after Zimmerman verdict

Photos of the 1992 LA Riots

Photo of the LA Riots in 1992
Photo Credit: Vintage Everyday

The city of Sanford, Fla. is bracing for reaction to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, including preparing for riots the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Rodney King verdict was announced in 1992.

The city has spent months preparing for what may develop after the jury verdict is announced, and pastors and members of the clergy are even lending a hand to keep tensions from escalating out of control.

According to a report from CNN’s David Mattingly, local pastors have been sitting in the courtroom observing the trial, and the Sanford Police Department has sent officers door to door in an attempt to stay in “front of a possible disaster.”

From Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett to the Chief of Police Cecil Smith, the city is very concerned about people coming in from out of town and “stirring up violence,” the CNN report said.

Triplett said the city was a “tinderbox” with all the demonstrations after Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, and his fear is that it may happen again if Zimmerman is ultimately acquitted.

A “Rodney King-type of riot” is a “scenario that’s certainly a possibility,” Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte told Mattingly.

However, neither Bonaparte nor Smith would discuss with CNN what specific security measures, like SWAT or other “personnel,” were in place.

“Months of preparation, intense community relations and a secret law enforcement plan” are in place not just for a Zimmerman acquittal, but in case celebrations over a possible guilty verdict turn violent, Mattingly reported.

No doubt, the city has been watching the escalating tension the trial has caused on social media.

There have been serious, violent and graphic calls on Twitter and Facebook for riots, looting and violence in cities across the country if Zimmerman is acquitted.

The trial is expected to last a few more weeks.

Watch the report from CNN here:

Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. [email protected] Twitter: @JaneenBPR

Comments

22 thoughts on “City prepared for Rodney King-like riots after Zimmerman verdict

  1. Heretic says:

    I'd say it speaks volumes.

  2. REAPER says:

    WELL TRUTH B TOLD THAT WOULD BE NO LOSS

  3. trilla says:

    look at the evidence dum mf ,,, you only repeating what Zimmerman said cuz his fat ass still alive for now!

  4. cojonius maximus says:

    This could be the causus belli for martial law….and the subsequent confiscation of firearms from de crackers

  5. Warsaw 1939 says:

    So this is what this country has come to senseless bloodshed and riots, pathetic!

  6. Debra Cannon says:

    What exactly are you saying, miss, about what they're saying this says??!!?!

  7. Jason C. Miller says:

    Let the savages riot again. The shooting range is boring, I need moving targets.

  8. richard disatizfd says:

    why can 't we all just get along..what ever the verdict..they went by the laws of the state of florida…if Zimmerman is freed they can always retry him on federal charges that could curtail any violence

  9. Robert C says:

    This is what it always comes down to. 21 years have gone by, but I remember the events of the LA Riots quite well — except I wasn't IN LA. I was working for a Domino's pizza simply delivering a pizza in the middle of the day in a mid-county suburb of St Louis, Missouri. I noticed a large crowd around the liquor store on my way in to the road that led to several houses, and a couple ratty apartment complexes, but it looked peaceful enough for a semi-rough area of St Louis County. Unfortunately there was only one way in and out of the area, and that is where my delivery took me. I was 20 years old, just trying to make my way in the world.

    On the way out I had two molotovs thrown at me. One hit the road and exploded violently. The other embedded in the windshield of my beat up Celebrity station wagon, and went out. I'm here today because they used 40 ounce bottles rather than wine bottles to make their molotov. On the way out, the mob at the liquor store was beating to death the Lebanese owners of the liquor store, and looting the store. They burned it down a few minutes later. The liquor store owner lost his life – I merely lost a windshield, and my two front tires.

    The small municipality had all of two police officers on duty, with more than 500 people out rioting. The police were powerless to do more than watch. As bad as that incident was, 1800 miles away, and provoked by a person who in a moment of drunk driving ran from the police, and resisted arrest — we had dozens of similar incidents. Even though we had a death that resulted; the incident did not even make the local paper. Much of the violence simply went unreported. I always found that odd, since the local paper had done much to fan the flames for months on end. Were they not proud of their work? Or perhaps they didn't want to own up to their responsibility in it?

    The local paper hasn't giving up fanning the flames as often as they can. It hasn't given up trying to twist things 7 ways to Sunday to make something into a racial incident that isn't. It also hasn't given up failing up to report to anywhere near the degree to which it occurs black on white crime.

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