Cops plan to flood Twitter with anti-riot messages
Police in Broward County fear that Twitter could be used to organize flash mob violence if George Zimmerman is acquitted, with authorities planning to flood the social network with anti-riot messages.
During a meeting last night attended by Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, numerous other law enforcement officials and dozens of local pastors, Sheriff’s Sgt. Eddie Grant pointed to a recent incident where a Twitter message about two girls planning to fight outside the Lauderhill Mall on June 26 prompted over 100 teenagers to arrive on the scene within minutes.
Authorities are concerned that flash mobs angry at the verdict could use Twitter to organize similar unrest. As we reported last week, a plethora of individuals have promised to stage riots and looting if George Zimmerman is found not guilty. The latest round of controversy focused on popular clothing brand ‘Illuminati’ – which yesterday tweeted to over a million followers, “The Only Justice for Trayvon Martin is to take the Life of George Zimmerman.”
The case already sparked looting by Trayvon Martin supporters last year when gangs of teenagers ransacked a Walgreens in north Miami in reaction to the fact that Zimmerman had not yet been arrested.
Detective Munib Ahmed outlined a plan to calm irate Trayvon supporters via Twitter during last night’s meeting, remarking, “What we’re concerned about is all the people starting rumors or instigating fights [through social media]. So we’re trying to get ahead of the game [and] quell the fight before it starts.”
Pastor Michael K. Anderson, of New Jerusalem First Baptist Church in Hollywood also called for Twitter to be used to quell disorder. “They’ll hear a lot of [rumors] but they’ll know the truth if they’re following us [on social media],” he stated.
Numerous prominent voices, including former Chicago cop Paul Huebl have warned that the outcome of the trial will lead to riots that could surpass those seen in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating.
Sheriffs in several Florida counties have been preparing for the potential that the outcome of the trial could spark riots for weeks. Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith and other city officials are worried that a Zimmerman acquittal could spark “violence” and have crafted a “secret law enforcement” plan to deal with potential social disorder.
Broward County’s latest outreach was a video entitled Raise Your Voice, Not Your Hands, which encourages residents to express their anger peacefully through free speech rather than resorting to violence.