Monzell Ford is no stranger to civil unrest. The Daytona Beach pastor and self-described "former gangbanger," said there was a time when he would have been tempted to participate in angry demonstrations over the Trayvon Martin case.
But he said he learned the price of that kind of behavior when he was living in Los Angeles in 1992, when the Rodney King verdict was delivered.
"Because of that I know what can happen in a divided community. I know what can happen when people get upset."
Ford is part of a small contingent of Daytona area pastors who came Saturday to the Seminole County Courthouse. The group, part of the Daytona Beach Clergy Alliance, said they are here to "spread a message of peace."
Dr. L. Ronald Durham, a member of the National Action Network, helped organize the Rev. Al Sharpton's "Justice for Trayvon" rally at Fort Mellon Park in Sanford last March, an event that made national headlines and drew some 8,000 protesters.
He describes Sanford as a "simmering, smoldering community," but said "we are hoping for and appealing for calm."
"We want justice, but no matter what happens, we want a peaceful response", said Pastor John Long.
First Coast News