Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee said he must "temporarily remove myself" from duty, a day after the City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a nonbinding measure of no confidence in him.
"My role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation β¦." Lee said during a news conference.
He added, "I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to the city, which has been in turmoil for several weeks."
Lee had come under fire following concerns that his police department did not adequately handle the fatal shooting last month of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Martin was shot February 26 while walking to the house of his father's fiancee after a trip to a convenience store. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader, said he shot the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense.
Following the shooting, thousands of people tweeted out Lee's photo and phone number asking them to flood him with calls because they believed his department had not properly investigated the case. Many of those people believed Zimmerman should have been arrested for the shooting.
"It is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process," Lee said.
Zimmerman has not been arrested. Police say they have not charged Zimmerman because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he shot in self-defense, leading to a new debate over a controversial state law.
Florida's deadly force law, also called "stand your ground," allows people to meet "force with force" if they believe that there is danger of serious harm to themselves or someone else.
Lee said he continued to stand by the police department as well as their investigation into Martin's death.
A Seminole County grand jury will convene on the matter April 10, according to State Attorney Norm Wolfinger.FULL STORY