Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith and other city officials are worried that the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial could spark “violence” and have crafted a “secret law enforcement” plan to deal with potential social disorder.
Zimmerman is accused of killing a black teenager, Trayvon Martin. President Obama has already sided with the Martins in saying that “if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon”.
A CNN report shows Sanford police going door to door in an attempt to calm residents about possible racial unrest in response to the Zimmerman verdict.
“Our worst fear is that we will have people from outside of the community coming in and stirring up….violence in the community,” Smith told CNN’s David Mattingly.
Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett echoes Smith’s concerns, warning that just one person intent on violence could spark wider disorder and “a provocation of violence”.
City Manager Norton Bonaparte is similarly on edge, fearing a Rodney King-style riot if Zimmerman is found not guilty.
“I’m saying that’s a scenario that’s certainly a possibility,” said Bonaparte, adding that plans had been made through law enforcement but that he would not go into detail on the nature of what they were.
Police Chief Cecil Smith was similarly evasive when asked if SWAT teams or “special personnel” were on standby to respond to disorder.
“As far as the particulars of the plans, we’re not releasing that,” Smith told CNN.
Authorities have also enlisted the help of local pastors who are acting as “observers” in the Zimmerman trial and will then report back to their congregation.
Scores of Twitter users have threatened to riot and loot if George Zimmerman is acquitted.
Other prominent voices have also warned of potential civil unrest, including former Chicago police officer Paul Huebl, who said that he fully expects “organized race rioting to begin in every major city to dwarf the Rodney King and the Martin Luther King riots of past decades” if Zimmerman walks.
With police already going door to door to calm Sanford residents in anticipation of unrest, some are worried that social disorder could be used as a pretext for gun confiscation in a similar vein to how Hurricane Katrina was used as a justification to disarm residents of New Orleans. – prisonplanet.com