KC police chief joins those urging calm after Martin verdict

With closing arguments going on in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, Kansas City Police Chief Daryl Fortè has joined those urging a peaceful response.

Authorities in South Florida have released an online public service announcement asking residents there to “raise your voice and not your hands” when the verdict is delivered.

In Miami, especially near Martin’s hometown of Miami Gardens, Miami-Dade police have identified “First Amendment zones” throughout the county where peaceful protests could be held if needed.

In March of 2012, hundreds of people gathered at the J.C. Nichols Fountain on the Plaza for a peaceful rally aimed at raising awareness about Trayvon Martin and fighting racial profiling.

Today Fortè wrote he is confident residents will react to the verdict as responsible citizens, noting that the police acknowledge all citizens have the right to voice their opinions and assemble peacefully. But he adds that police are prepared to respond if needed.

“I ask all members of the community to respect each other. Respect one’s right to voice an opinion, but also respect another’s right to be safe. I also ask everyone to work together to quell any disturbances that may arise. I know the Zimmerman case is an emotional topic, but we can’t let emotions bring discredit to Kansas City. Everyone is responsible for keeping their behavior in check, and if you see someone who isn’t, try to help them redirect their feelings in an appropriate way. If that doesn’t work, call us,” the chief wrote.

Read the chief’s full blog


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