Officials issue pleas for peace after Zimmerman verdict - FOX 13 News

Officials issue pleas for peace after Zimmerman verdict

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

As we all wait to find out how a jury of George Zimmerman's peers will decide his fate, questions are arising as to what the reaction to that verdict will be.

Will it be peaceful, or could the racial aspect of this trial boil over into violence?

"We don't expect there to be any problems but as the Tampa Police Department, we're prepared for anything," said TPD Chief Jane Castor.

For the most part, the chief says TPD is business as usual but she says officers in the field are keeping a close eye on the vibe out there. She too has been speaking with community members, knowing it doesn't take much for sparks to fly.

"They can express that viewpoint in whatever they feel is necessary as long as it doesn't cross the line," Chief Castor said.

Earlier Friday, a group of black elected officials in Hillsborough County called for peace following the verdict, adding to the growing list of communities speaking out. They're hoping to avoid situations like the 1996 riots in St. Petersburg, after a white police officer shot a black driver.

"We ask for calm and peace. No violence, no turmoil, no destroying of property no destroying of the community," said County Commissioner Les Miller.

"Trayvon Martin's family has asked for peace and we must respect their wishes," said State Representative Betty Reed.

Along with TPD, a number of police agencies across Florida say they're ready if anything does happen. Chief Castor saying while unlikely, you just never know.

"You can't predict what's going to happen so you have to prepared all the time," she said.


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