Mayor Sly James urges community over controversy after Zimmerman verdict

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James released a statement Friday, urging citizens "to put the community above the controversy," and not engage in gun violence when a verdict in the George Zimmerman case is released.

"Slow motion mass murder occurs too often here right here in Kansas City," Sly said.

The release comes after rumors of possible riots in the city after a verdict is reached.

On Thursday, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte also released a statement asking for city-wide cooperation.

Here is Mayor James' release in its entirety:

Mayor James Encourages Larger Conversation on Gun Violence Regardless of Verdict in Trayvon Martin Case

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR SLY JAMES ON TRAYVON MARTIN CASE:

(Kansas City, Missouri) --- ""Whether a verdict is returned in the Trayvon Martin case today, next week, or next month, I urge Kansas Citians to put the community above the controversy.  I believe that the common vision we have for the future of our city, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or geography, should do more to bring us together than to drive us apart.  We always have room for rational debate and I do expect everyone, regardless of their opinions related to this case, to remain calm.  This case has ignited strong feelings in many communities across the country, but there is a big difference between freedom of expression and expressing feelings through violence.

We have worked diligently over the past couple of years to elevate our city on the national and international stage.  I think we should not let the actions of a few negate the collective, strategic efforts of many to move this city forward. 

Yesterday, Chief Forte eloquently urged civil responsibility in response to this verdict and as a strategy to reduce violence in our community.  I couldn't agree more.  Slow motion mass murder occurs too often here right here in Kansas City, you just don't see the details of the incidents on a headline news ticker.  This case is a high profile example of why we need to continue working towards a community solution to gun violence."

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