SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Law enforcement officials are asking residents of Sanford and surrounding areas to remain peaceful after a verdict is announced in the George Zimmerman trial.

The Sanford police chief and Seminole County Sheriff made their appeal Friday shortly after jurors began deliberating in Zimmerman's second-degree murder trial.

Zimmerman says he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense. Prosecutors say Zimmerman was a wannabe cop who took the law into his own hands after a rash of break-ins in his Sanford neighborhood.

Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith says the city has evolved since tens of thousands protested last year after Martin was killed. Civil rights leaders came to Sanford to demonstrate when Zimmerman wasn't immediately arrested.

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