Why is There So Much Hype About Riots After this George Zimmerman Verdict?

Trayvon Martin signSo as the jury deliberates for a second day around this George Zimmerman trial, talk about Rodney King style riots breaking out is being amped up..

News anchors and pundits along with the police are showing up on TV looking all somber telling us to please keep it peaceful and stay calm no matter what the verdict.. I think I saw a news report with Reverend Al Sharpton telling us not to gloat if Zimmerman is convicted..Seemingly every Civil Rights leader from Jesse Jackson to NAACP head Ben Jealous has been dragged before the cameras to plead for folks to trust in the justice system, even if it far too often, leaves us on the short end of the stick.

In preparing for this possible urban unrest, community leaders have gone out and tapped young people to do anti-violence PSA’s where they plead for peace. The whole scene reminded me of what was done on the days leading up to the Oscar Grant verdict which took place July 8th 2010.. Folks in the Bay Area may recall this PSA shown below:


This is what’s being done now around the Zimmerman trial:


Several protesters lie face down on the ground in front of of riot

Protesters lie face down on the ground in front of riot cops

With respect to this threat of riots/civil unrest, let’s unpack that for a minute. My experience over the years of covering uprisings during the Oscar Grant Movement, the Occupy Movement, various the DNC and RNC Conventions from 2000 on up, to several G20 and G8 summits has led me to the conclusion that we should always be asking the following questions; 1-Who is pushing the assertions that riots are imminent and how are they pushing it? 2-Who stands to benefit the most from the threat of unrest? (key word ‘threat’)  3-What’s the political, economic and social agenda if any, attached these threats?

Personally I think the riot talk is being hyped up to the financial benefit of two main outfits which are corporate media and the Police.. Both thrive off of fear, confusion and mayhem..

In the case of news outlets, a riot is the ultimate reality tv that falls in line with its tried and true modus operandi “if it bleeds it leads’..Trust me many of those anchors and pundits may be sitting up in their cushy chairs pleading with you to stay home, but their overall coverage and over the top on air banter is designed to push emotional buttons, ignite and incite..

OscarGrantChaos in the streets equals ratings, hence if there ain’t some windows being broken and fires being lit after this verdict comes down, you’re gonna have some disappointed news outlets..

The other outfit that benefits from all this riot talk are the police..You start talking riots and civil unrest, it becomes an all hands on deck operations. This means cops are called in on their day off while others have their vacation days cut..

Everyone is put to work as the departments deploy extra patrols and increase surveillance and intel gathering of anyone and everyone who they think might be down to set it off after the verdict is read..

In preparation for the riots..you best believe many departments are dusting off the law books and seeing how they can push the legal envelope.. This means they may do explore everything from mass arrests to pre-emptive raids and detaining of key organizers to shutting down entire blocks and neighborhoods to setting up enclosed ‘protests zones’ and ‘free speech cages’. Many are going over crowd control and kettling strategies

All this is happening to the tune of massive overtime pay for law enforcement.. This is on top of them busting out new weapons, new vehicles and new Star wars-type storm trooper outfits..

I recall during the Oscar Grant and Oakland Occupy Movements, police would hold press conferences warning fearful residents of ‘outside agitators’ and anarchists. They would then bring in as many as 500 cops from 17 different jurisdictions to the tune of 500k to one million a pop..

Police Riot gearThis scenario is playing out in cities all over the country. From Oakland to New York to Chicago to Houston.. Police in Sanford, Florida are not the only ones gearing up for ‘civil unrest’. It’s big business and a lot of folks are fixing to get paid..

The biggest irony to all this all this is while the focus and concern on riots is directed at Black folks who are continuously being demonized, civil unrest may actually come from far-right wing nuts who support George Zimmerman and feel a conviction will be a blow to Stand Your Ground Laws..Black folks do not have a monopoly on civil unrest..

This country has a sordid past where we seen angry white mobs set off some of the most devastating riots’ in history with Black people as their target. from Tulsa to Chicago to Atlanta to Bensonhurst, BK to Boston to Howard Beach.. Even in the riots most associated with Black unrest, large numbers of Black folks were killed often at the hands of the police who used the occasion to go off..We saw this during the Watts Riots in 65 to the Newark and Detroit uprisings in ’67 to Rodney King unrest  in ’92. Many of us deemed those deaths as target practice.. The recent HBO documentary about all those killed by police during the Newark Riots gives a serious breakdown on this.

In recent years we’ve seen a major increase in the number of Black people killed or brutalized by the police. According to the latest reports from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police.  You don’t think that hostility won’t play out during a Rodney King style riot?? All one has to do is look at what unfolded during Katrina when there were threats of riots and mayhem to see how the police and folks in power get down.. There were all sorts of killings both by police and vigilante types..

tea-party-gun-advocateOver the past few years we’ve seen the uncovering of plots with white supremacist attempting to find ways to set off some sort of race war.. We’ve seen a rise in militia types who feel like this country is set to collaspe with Black and Brown folks as the blame. This is coupled with the anger and vitriol we’ve seen by Tea Party types who have shown up with guns in tow on to presidential campaign rallies and congressional townhall meetings that they’ve disrupt, who down to bring the ruckus..

During this George Zimmerman trial we’ve had a number of prominent conservative leaning journalists from Geraldo Rivera to Joe Scarborough hawking the ‘Trayvon was a hoodie wearing thug who got what he deserved‘ narrative and that if Zimmerman doesn’t get off its an indication are country is falling. Many have embraced such rhetoric to the point that in all honesty instead of just having a traditional Civil Rights leaders calling for peace, maybe we need to see folks like Pastor Rick Warren or the head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre doing PSA calling on folks to be peaceful and respect the verdict.

What’s also ironic is with many of these so-called riots we’ve seen in recent years from the one in Austin, Texas in May of 2009 when police killed a sleeping Nathaniel Sanders to the recent unrest in East Flatbush, Brooklyn after Kamani Gray was gunned down, they pale in comparison to the unrest we see breakout after sporting events.

Compare the unrest in Oakland after the Oscar Grant verdict in 2010 to the mayhem that engulfed neighboring San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series this past year.

Compare the unrest that occurred on the Penn State campus when went students went buckwyld after learning head coach Joe Paterno was fired with the lack of unrest in Detroit a few weeks ago when a mistrial ‘verdict ‘ came down for SWAT Team member Joseph Weekley who was accused of killing 7 year old Aiyana Stanley Jones while he was ‘showing off’ for a Reality TV show.

Compare the reaction to verdicts of injustice to high profile cases like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo where officers were acquitted for shooting un-armed men to the riots in the streets we saw after the Lakers Beat the Celtics in 2010 or after the crazy riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. Where was the nationwide calls for peace or even Anti-riot PSAs from the respective sports stars?

Penn State Riots

Penn State Riots

What’s going on right now with all these impending riot warnings seems like another attempt to resurrect the scary Black Boogey man..It’s the continued demonization of Black folks at all costs.  It was done during this trial where Trayvon Martin‘s character was called into question and he was depicted as a weed smoking violent prone thug vs George Zimmerman who actually has an arrest record, a criminal past and a history of violence.. It’s being done now with the goal of planting fear in the minds of many..

By feeding into that narrative of young African-Americans as the main instigators and sole participants, what gets overlooked is the fact that in many civil disturbances including the Rodney King uprisings which we are told we need to prevent, folks from all sorts of racial and ethnic backgrounds were running around kicking up dust and in the mix. We saw that during the Oscar Grant protests.. We saw that during the uprisings in London and France.. We sure as hell saw that during the Occupy, Anti-war and Anti-Globalization Protests.

What also gets lost is that many times there are no riots after any number of controversial trials.

If there is any sort of unrest after this George Zimmerman trial because he’s acquitted it won’t be only Black folks out in the streets. It’ll be folks of all stripes who are upset with a justice system that they perceive as unfair.. If there is unrest perhaps we should be exploring ways to repair a broken justice system that has left many with broken spirits and broken hearts vs worrying about broken windows which are easily replaced..


34 comments on “Why is There So Much Hype About Riots After this George Zimmerman Verdict?

  1. Crump started the Racial issue by presenting the image of the 12yr old black child going to the store for candy. GZ was immediately labeled as a white man (he’s HISPANIC) who shot a child in the back! Race Rallies ensue. Cue Jackson and Sharpton. That is how all this racial bs started.

  2. You are a very intelligent man, and you are right. But how do people continue to control their rage?

  3. It’s the racist mentality that causes racial profiling. There is the presumption that our people are savages who respond to the outcome as savages would. It’s the same mentality that guided Zimmerman. Zimmerman profiled an individual, and racist minded people are profiling a whole ethnic group. And to Michelle, how many 17 year-old white children suffer cold blooded murders by police and wannabe police. It happens regularly in the Black community nation wide, north and south, east and west. It is a pattern that Black people have seen since the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 up to now, 2013. That’s 150 years since African American were supposed to have gained American citizenship.

  4. Finally justice has been served, they managed to find an intelligent jury.
    Why would there not be hype about riots? That’s what ignorant people do when they don’t get there way in a racial issue. 50 people were killed and 3,000 injured after the Rodney King verdict. There weren’t riots after the OJ verdict…hmmmm, I wonder why???

  5. I’m not sure how u think he’s white, but make sure you don’t run up on my family we’re not taking any of ur sh$$!

  6. you guys make me laugh and sick all at the same time. Martin was a black punk!!! The black part is only an issue because YOU make it an issue. He could have been white punk, an Asian punk, a French punk…it wouldn’t have mattered. That he was black gives you the thought that it is okay to start blaming society. Shut the fuck up!!!!! Both could have walked away….neither did and a tragedy happened. To make it a racial thing is only idiots playing into the “Sharpton” way of looking at life. Grow up, shut up, and move on. Zimmerman would have done what he did it the kid was white, black, or purple. MORONS!!!!!!!!!

  7. Ralph Moore, people have that perception because it has too frequently been reality. After the verdicts in the Rodney King beating trial, what did they do? Act like a bunch of savages. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, what did they do? Act like a bunch of savages. Need I go on?

  8. My cousin was killed six years ago by guy because he was lost in a bad neighborhood. My cousin was white and the shooter was black. I wish Sharpton and rev. Jackson was there for him. I just don’t understand this. Its crazy to me that people care so much about this case but noone was at the trial when the shooter got off for shooting my cousin.Its a sad world.

  9. All week, people were threatening to riot if Zimmerman wasn’t declared guilty. It was all over social media, how anyone missed it is beyond me. When radical Muslims threaten to blow us up, we take it seriously. When kids threaten to shoot up the school, they are arrested. Hell, now they’re kicked out of school for pretending to shoot someone with their little fingers. When people threaten to riot, cops take it seriously. This racism bs is burnt toast. People are tired of being accused of racism. The only people responsible for stirring up this post are the race-baitors on MSNBC. 90% of black males are murdered by black males. Why doesn’t the black community care about that? You’re killing your own. ‘Scary whitey’ isn’t the perp! And Zimmerman is a Peruvian-Jew, registered Democrat and voted for Obama.

  10. The most high said “Vengeance is MINE”.
    A judge and jury here on earth may have found Zimmerman not guilty but the verdict that MATTERS came the moment Zimmerman sent.that burning slug into Trayvon Martin’s ches
    God/Allah/Jehovah/Yahweh will deal with him on HIS terms and those terms will be more brutal than any jail sentence could ever be. We don’t need to take it to the streets, the LORD will hand out proper justice for the wronged. Believe that!!!

  11. I agree with a comment above, both Zimmerman and Martin could have walked away from this incident. They were both stubborn and it escalated into an unfortunate tragedy. Zimmerman was probably guilty of profiling by assuming a young black with a hoody walking through an apartment complex at night was up to no good, but as far as racism, Martin was obviously a racist evident in his cellphone comment to his girlfriend prior to the confrontation “some cracka following me” even though Zimmerman is HISPANIC and Martin just assumed he was white. It’s interesting how whites create a mortal sin and get raked over the coals by using the “N word” but it’s acceptable for blacks to say “cracka”..??? Why wasn’t the issue of Martin being a racist by use of the word “cracka” brought up in court? Paula Dean admitted to use of the “N word” and look what happened to her. Does forbidden use of improper racist slang only apply to whites?
    This was a confrontation between two individuals, why is that every time a black person is involved in an incident it has to be turned into a racial issue and the black person involved is automatically innocent?. Playing the race card obviously isn’t working anymore; people (and juries) are wising up to that tactic.
    If this incident had involved two back males with one ending up dead there would have been a 10 second mention of it on the local news in Sanford and no one would have paid a bit of attention to it. But when you have racism inciters like Al Sharpton on your side, this is what happens. I do commend Jesse Jackson for urging peaceful post verdict protesting.

  12. Get ya local blow cum and spead tha legs around some sum ups to a real globo refinement on trial ‘n error such _Isms bii ops,..its old fascioned on Daddy scum! Clooney Snowden Darfuer and some Brother Vinyl Achmeds tha ‘Otto’-Bot participation of all established…just fascist local art coins!

  13. Watching/observing someone in public is NOT a crime. Assaulting someone just because they are looking at you suspiciously IS a crime. It’s amazing how blindingly stupid, wilfully ignorant, and hate-filled some people can be. The self-righteousness of the recidivist cretin Afrocentric gangbangers is heinous.

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  16. jbranger1999, Snaps Bacula and Carol.. three of you are bunch of moron pricks. It rather comical that how you moronic moral monster are trying to find a pretext for murder of a black teen. It easy to rationalised injustice when you have white privilege. I really have to ask, why are you bastards here?
    The hubris of you people will never cease to amaze me.
    I hope that a member of your family find the same faith as Trayvon, at the hand of someone of a different race.

  17. @ Kenza;
    First of all I don’t have, nor have I ever had “white privilege.” This due to the fact that I’m not white, I’m Hispanic.
    Obviously you yourself are a racist from your comments and worse than that you’re an extremely evil person. How could you wish that a member of my family suffer the same fate as Travon? What kind of sick fuck are you?
    But in the end you will be judged for your opinions by a higher court

  18. If you want respect from the so called White Man get rid of your White mans name (your slave name or your Government name). White man gave you that name when he owned you. Now that you are free and don’t know who you are, you still keep your Government name or Slave Name. How can you complain about so called White people when they know they still own you by name alone. What’s in a name? Your identity. I have never seen a Black Person and I have never seen a White person. Asian’s, Mexican’s, African’s etc. are not described by color. Hum!!!!! Seriously folks people all over the world wanna know why we keep our slave names and complain about the way we get treated in this country. The descendants of Jackson, Johnson, Jefferson to name a few can always identify their forefathers modern day slaves when they meet you even in a corporate board room. The Government name shows that we still are not equal because we have no identity. To protest Trayvon’s injustice all should change from the Slave Name to one that is about us. Of course those of us who think we have really made it by doing everything the so called White man told us was the American way I’m certain will never change their name. But for those of us that know better I think will make the change. Think about it.

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