MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the painstaking task of jury selection continues in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial, community officials, and Trayvon Martin’s family, hope for peace once a verdict is reached.
“We ask the community to continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the justice system,” urged Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father.
He’s not alone in its call for peace throughout the trial and after a verdict comes down.
“Justice may mean one thing on the north side of the street and something completely different on the south side of the street,” said Miami attorney Ed Shohat. “It really depends on your perspective what a just outcome might very well be in this case.
Shohat is also part of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. The board is already thinking ahead to the end of the trial.
It has happened before in the past, after trials and even sporting events, where violent outbreaks occur when emotions take over.
“Any kind of unrest or violence is senseless and only makes things worse, it doesn’t help anything,” said Shohat.
While there are no indications that this racially-charged case could explode into trouble, local police departments from Miami-Dade to BSO, to homeland security are already working to keep the peace. Another key element is educating the public through community forums; some are planned in the next few weeks.
“We need to get ready for when the verdict is in, whether it is not guilty or guilty,” said Jude Bruno from the Miami Dade Youth Commission. “If the youth is going to react, that is the time they’re going to react.”
Student rallies and other protests have been peaceful. The hope is they remain that way.
“Regardless of what happens in the Trayvon Martin case,” Shohat said, “the reaction of non- violence and peaceful reaction is the appropriate reaction in this case.”
No date has been set yet for the community meeting.