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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — On the rush hour morning talk shows the talk was heated in South Florida Tuesday after a grand jury refused to indict a Ferguson, MO police officer in the fatal shooting of an un-armed black teenager.
“In that moment, he was acting thuggishly,” said a caller to WIOD, referring to Michael Brown, the 18 year-old who was shot dead in the confrontation with the officer.
“The grand jury reviewed the case for months and took testimony from dozens of witnesses,” declared a caller to WFTL radio.
At Florida International University a small group of students protested the grand jury ruling.
“No justice, no peace!” the group of perhaps two dozen shouted as they marched around a fountain.
At Miami Dade College the Missouri ruling was met largely with resignation.
“I mean I wasn’t shocked about it,” said MDC student Guerlinn Dorema. “It happened with Trayvon, so it’s like, is it going to change?”
Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old South Florida teen was shot dead by a neighborhood vigilante cop wannabe, George Zimmerman, who a jury found not guilty. Trayvon’s mom Tuesday said she was not surprised at the finding in Missouri.
“I thought there was a small chance that we would be indicted,” Sybrina Fulton said. “But then, from history and knowing the system, I didn’t really believe that they would do it.”
Unlike the mayhem – the rioting, looting and fires in Ferguson – in Florida, when George Zimmerman got off, there was anger but no violence. Communities were prepared.
“We were ready long before Trayvon Martin ever happened,” said Ed Shohat, a prominent Miami attorney and vice-chair of the Community Relations Board. “And we were certainly prepared before the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.”
Long before the Zimmerman verdict, people of all colors held peace talks in churches and community centers. Trayvon’s parents were angry, but raised voices of reason that appealed for calm, even before the outcome was known.
In Ferguson, the racial divide is cavernous – and no one tried to cross it. Voices of reason were not raised until it was too late.
Trayvon’s mother says she can understand the reaction in Missouri.
“It was a loss of life. It was murder. It was an unarmed black man,” Fulton said. “I don’t think it was any different (than Trayvon), but I think what is happening now is people are just getting fed up with the same thing continuing to happen.”
Trayvon’s mother would not discount the possibility of anger escalating to violence in South Florida if a pattern of police shooting and killing young black men is not staunched. Ferguson, she said, could happen here.
“People are going to be angry and disappointed, so you might get this again,” she said.
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