The Trayvon Martin shooting is easily the most prominent court case of 2013, and no matter what the verdict is, there are going to be a lot of angry people.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the Sanford Police Department to take a proactive — but likely not very effective — approach to the not-so-distant verdict. They have released a public service announcement that looks like it came from the '80s. In the video, a young woman and a slightly hoppy James Jomes from Miami Heat to perform an awkward rap that contains lines like, “Let’s give violence a rest because we could easily end up arrested ... Let’s back up and choose not to act up.”
Sheriff Scott Israel later told reporters, “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.”
At first glance, the video appears fairly neutral, but it takes on a slightly different meaning when viewed in the larger context. The Zimmerman case is still ongoing, but the defense has pulled out ahead and has a very good chance of earning a not guilty verdict.
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It’s possible that this video is directed more at the Martin supporters than the Zimmerman supporters. It is somewhat telling that law enforcement decided to use a rap song to convey the message. Additionally, there is a disproportionately high number of African Americans in the video. Eight of the nine people in the background are African American, and three of the five police officers are African American.
After reading in between the lines, it appears that the Broward Sheriff’s Office is directing the message directly towards local members of the African American community who want to see George Zimmerman behind bars.
Do you agree with the analysis? Do you think that the rap song and the high number of African Americans in the video are coincidental, or does it appear that the Browards Sheriff’s Office is afraid that African Americans will riot after a very likely not guilty verdict?