- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2013

Armed with batons and horses, dozens of Miami police officers went through riot training on Wednesday just days before a verdict is expected to be reached in the George Zimmerman trial.

“It’s a mandatory training. All these officers are given this equipment, and it’s in the event we have civil unrest at any given moment our officers are ready on a minute’s notice,” Miami Police spokesman Freddie Cruz told CBS Miami.

“This is just purely coincidence” that the riot training falls so close to the verdict, Mr. Cruz assured.

Miami’s police union believes it’s almost too coincidental, CBS said.

“It’s very coincidental that it’s falling at this time” Javier Ortiz, of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the station. “We haven’t had the training since 2011, so I don’t know if it really considered routine.”

“There has been some talk among the officers that we believe that this training has to do with the fact that there might be some type of civil unrest, but we are hoping that that doesn’t happen,” he added.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has already aired several public service announcements to preempt any possible violence, CBS reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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