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


  • Bill Board

    Hey savages…….

    Try rioting on my street.

  • Debra J.M. Smith

    What does this say?

    Think about it. They are concerned how the same people (mainly black) will behave if they DON'T get what they want and if they DO get what they want.

    What does this say?

    They are not concerned about how people that side with George Zimmerman are going to act, either way.

    What does this say?


    • Truth-B-Told

      What does it say when any other race murder an African American and expect to get away easily. We continue to have to go through these measures to be treated fairly in the justice system. It doesn't matter if evidence or science proves guilt,most get away murdering African Americans.

      • brokeepr

        Truth be told: you know only black ghetto truth. All these years & you're Still a victim. How sad for you.

  • Duffy Spies

    Some people just can't handle the TRUTH.

    Stupid kid did stupid things and paid the price.

    Sometimes people fight for their lives instead of rolling over and letting the bullies of the world have their way.

    Riot because of hatred of the truth, or riot because you have nothing better to do than show ignorance?

    Bring it on. I'm sure there will be nothing but cupcakes and pats on the head for ya.

  • Adam Geller

    The prosecution is inexperienced in this sort of case, because rational government attorneys do not typically charge a victim who was almost murdered.

    Putting together the transcript of Zimmerman’s call, the eyewitness account and a map of the area, one can conclude a number of things. Zimmerman lost sight of Martin for a few minutes. Martin’s temporary residence was about 100’ away. If Martin wanted to flee, he could have gone home without further contact. Instead, Martin confronted Zimmerman while Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle. Martin led with a ‘king hit’ to the face, which broke Zimmerman’s nose and knocked him to the ground. Martin then straddled Zimmerman, repeatedly striking him and slamming Zimmerman’s head on the concrete walkway for up to a minute. Zimmerman showed remarkable restraint in waiting that long before drawing his pistol and only firing one shot. A law officer in that position would have used his weapon much sooner and would likely have emptied his magazine into his or her attacker. And it makes no difference that the attacker is ‘unarmed’. Head trauma can kill.

    It seems likely that Zimmerman was so disoriented by the sudden attack that he forgot he was armed. No premeditation, no evil intent – rather it was justifiable self defense.

  • Fedup

    This has to be the most eloquent and succinct account of what happened. Great job making it simple for even those who struggle with the facts to comprehend.

    Prior to the trial, I'd made comments to friends and family, that hopefully the "masses" calling for "Justice for Trayvon" would see through the race baiting. I'd hoped, as the evidence was laid bare, that they'd see that the black population has been manipulated by the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world. But, after reading so many tweets and comments on the various blogs about the trial, I see my hope has been misplaced.

    While I do have concerns for safety for those who get in the way of the gangs looking for justice for Trayvon, my bigger concern is how government is going to react. Just as with the two Boston bombers, I think we'll see an over-reaction by law enforcement (maybe even military), the likes of which we've never seen before.

    During Katrina, the Guard and local law enforcement went door to door collecting legal guns of homeowners – for the good of the public. I fear we may see more of this.

    The last thing I'm going to do is hand over my only method of defense against roaming packs of wolves.

  • gm

    I hope the savages riot and start a war. We need a cleansing in blood.

    • hawk

      You're an idiot just like the rest of the morons. Bring it on bitch!

  • Jack ryan


    I am afraid we are facing straight out Black mob terror, this is a show trial, and facts, motives, evidence don't have much effect.

    Our side has to be able to fight fire with fire. We should bus in large numbers of Latinos who will protest, riot if Jorge is falsely convicted.

  • Jack ryan


    This is a flat out Soviet style show trial.

    The most that could have even remotely been justified would be charging Zimmerman with involuntary manslaughter. 2nd degree murder entails pre meditated intent to kill. Zimmerman has no motive.

    Trayvon was clearly on top of Zimmerman slamming his head in to concrete.

  • diane carder

    not true Truth-B-Told. what about the innocent white baby shot by a black thug while his mother was pushing him in his stroller. Didn't hear much about that one did you?

  • diane carder

    Exactly!!! But they do not care about zimmerman being innocent. the divisive president used this to create more division because he himself is a racist and the media has assisted him. sad sad sad what he is allowed to do to this country

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