City of Sanford prepares for response to George Zimmerman decision

Zimmerman shot, killed Trayvon Martin in February

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman
Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman

SANFORD, Fla. – The city of Sanford is preparing for the outcome of the special prosecutor's decision about George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin but has not been charged.

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett said on Thursday that the city's emergency management team has met regularly with the U.S Department of Justice to construct a plan. Officials said extra police officers and fire department officials are on standby. Neighboring agencies have also been asked to assist, if needed.

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"You always prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Triplett said. "We're planning for the 'what-if' case scenario, and that would be to make sure that all of our citizens get the protection they pay their taxes for."

Triplett noted that previous protests have been peaceful, and he hopes that trend continues.

"Those that would like to make this a defining moment for the city of Sanford are wrong, and we just have to make sure that we do a good job of making sure that that's not our lasting image," Triplett said.

It's not known when Angela Corey, a state attorney appointed as the special prosecutor by Gov. Rick Scott, will make a ruling.

Residents said they feel the pressure of the decision looming over the community.

"Sanford is still a good little town," said Jimbo Carter of McRoberts Auto Center. Carter has been working at the auto center in Sanford for 30 years and he said the outcome of the decision could hurt the town.

"Yeah, I'm worried if he's not charged (that) we're gonna have trouble in this town," Carter said.

But Tommy Oliver, who was born and raised in Sanford, said he isn't concerned at all.

"People march, but this a new day and age and not too much is going to happen," Oliver said.

Zimmerman, 28, hasn't been arrested or charged in the Feb. 26 shooting death of Martin, sparking outrage across the nation.

Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense after he was attacked by Martin. Martin's parents say their son was the victim of an attack fueled by racial profiling.

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