As the trial of George Zimmerman winds down, the Orlando police are reportedly bracing for possible riots in the event that the defendant walks. The Broward County Sheriff's Office release two public service announcements urging people to "raise their voice, not their hands" if they are unhappy with the verdict. Meanwhile, church leaders, who have been given seats at the trial, have pledged to use their influence in the community to quell any violence.
Given the way Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting was initially ignored by law enforcement—it was 46 days before George Zimmerman was arrested—there is cause for concern. It was a groundswell of protest from the black community that brought the shooting to the nation's attention—remember the One Million Hoodie March? This case has sparked a movement—in defense of young black men and in opposition to Stand Your Ground law. But the pre-emptive call for calm runs counter to recent history, and may be akin to racial fear mongering.