South Florida Authorities Prepare for Verdict in George Zimmerman Trial

The Broward Sheriff's Office released a public service announcement this week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Broward Sheriff's Office

    Authorities in South Florida are preparing for the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and urging people to stay calm and non-violent at the trial's conclusion.

    The Broward Sheriff's Office said they've worked with the Sanford Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to coordinate a response plan in anticipation of the verdict.

    On Monday, the BSO released a public service announcement with the help from kids from the Jason Taylor Foundation, H.A.N.D.Y. (Helping Abused, Neglected, Disadvantaged Youth) and Miami Heat star James Jones with the message "raise your voice, not your hands."

    "Freedom of expression is a constitutional right. While raising your voice is encouraged, using your hands is not," a statement from the BSO said, adding that the video urges "young people not to let their emotions get the best of them."

    Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, of Miami Gardens. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defense.

    The trial began last month, and prosecutors questioned 38 witnesses over nine days in presenting their case.

    “We don’t have information about a specific event that might take place at the conclusion of the trial, but we encourage everyone to keep any protests peaceful,” Sheriff Scott Israel said in the statement.

    The BSO said their Strategic Investigation Division has been monitoring the trial and has been maintaining open lines of communication with community leaders, civic activists, members of the clergy and local, state and federal agencies.

    Miami-Dade Police officials said they've had similar conversations with community leaders and other law enforcement agencies, as well as holding internal meetings.

    "We're informed, were prepared and were just standing by," Miami-Dade Police spokesman Det. Javier Baez said.