Given the emotionally charged atmosphere surrounding the George Zimmerman trial, people are understandably anxious about how the public will react to the verdict, no matter which way it comes down. And we're not just talking about the random (and empty) internet threats that have had so many people wringing their hands in recent weeks. The memories of the very real riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict are still quite vivid, even after 20 years, and if Zimmerman is found not guilty in Trayvon Martin's death, there will be a lot of real anger again.
So police in Sanford, Florida, and nearby communities are taking a proactive approach. Last week, they were reportedly going to door-to-door to talk to citizens and business owners in an agressive outreach program ahead of the verdict. And on Monday, they released this video PSA that definitely has its heart in the right place, but may not win over any truly angry people.
No one really has any idea how the community will react when it's all over, whether Zimmerman is acquitted or if he gets a lengthy jail term. There's sure to be angry voices on both sides, particularly on the internet, but will people actually take to the streets in protest? Will police be able to handle it properly? Your guess is as good as any prediction about the actual verdict, which could come down as early as this week, but as procedureal matters continue to drag out the defense team's argument, jury deliberation is more likely to begin after the weekend.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.