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 …." 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.
Considering he doesn't believe in arresting people for murder; I'd say he should find another career.
The case is still open. Self defense is still a viable option.
You're another an Idiot,like the rest in here. He did all he could do under the Florida laws ( Florida's deadly force law ) You want him to break the law to justify someone else who supposedly broke the law. You read the laws before posting suck BUNK! Let me Guess, Your Black?
Racist police chief. He should be working at McD's.
Ron, I agree 100%, and I'm a former Deputy Sheriff. Zimmerman killed the kid in cold blood and it was likely racially motivated – making it a hate crime. Zimmerman needs to be charged (with Murder1, in my opinion), and Chief Lee needs to resign permanantly.
There is a Demonstration in Indianapolis, IN planned for Monday March 26 from 4:30 to 6:30pm. Link to the FB event page is http://www.facebook.com/events/165885603533130/ or you can search for "Trayvon Martin – Indianapolis Demonstration – We Want Justice!"
It's time for this country to ban the NRA. Deport them and send them packing. They are responsible for the killings in the streets, for drug lords and gun violence. They are terrorists and must be destroyed by the ballot.
Are you saying boyz in hoods are NRA members?
What a ridiculous thing to say! True liberal.
The NRA is responsible? Drug prohibition is the reason for drug gangs existing just like alcohol prohibition created the mafia. Learn your facts before you talk crap.
YES! and lets ban the EPA, then we wont have all the pollution, and the IRS so we wont have taxes. lets apply lemming logic to everything!!!
The NRA has nothing to do with this or what peple do with guns. That is just a statement of pure ignorance.
It's not the NRA...it is the people that use the guns.
Actually, the NRA does have a lot to do with this. They are the ones who lobbied to create the "Stand Your Ground" laws for the most part.
The NRA isn't the cause of Gangs and Drug Lords – drug prohibition is! If this country would wake up and take Portugals lead in decriminalizing drugs, the drug cartels and drug-funded street gangs would go broke almost overnight. Read some history about substance prohibition (alcohol – U.S. 1930's) and you will see what I mean.
Shut your hole, jackwagon
First Step in the Right Direction towards Justice.
You mean towards racism.
Just resign...the people don't need want you...you are slow to go
He should of left when he lied right away and did not look into it thoroughly.
Did they at least have the decency to give him his ceremonial horns, before they informed him of the vote results?
Can't you just picture him in a pretty white suit....with a matching white hoodie?
@BOMBO ©: Dummy! What ceremonial horns?
There's a defenseless child MURDERED and buried 6-foot under with his life cut short by a SATAN possessed RACISTS predator, George Zimmerman.
You're WORSE than the SATAN possessed MURDERER, George Zimmerman himself.
Why should this man step down? Because the kangaroo court of public opinion demands the arrest of someone even though law enforcement has determined that there's no evidence of him having commited any criminal wrongdoing? He is NOT a disgrace. Let the investigators determine what happened and everbody else stay out of it.
I'll bet you burned a JoePa effigy, didn't you?
Excuse me but the Court of public opinion does have a stake in the Truth. And if you listen to the 911 tapes you
will understand why there is a court of public opinion and why people are outraged. More than a Million+ people
have signed up to protest this travesty. If your way of thinking was correct he would stand by his decision. I
hope you don't try this with somebody who decides to shoot you and ask questions after the court of public
opinion forces them to. If he doesn't believe in arresting people he should not be in law enforcement anyway.
Oh please...Florida has messed up guns laws. Right to carry a weapon?
I am walking down the street and you are walking down the street. I don't like the look of you , I can come after you , I can shoot you and claim self defense? THAT IS HORRIBLE !!!!
Last I checked, he was upholding the law he was sworn to defend. The order to arrest and prosecute would have to come from above his office. Stupid racist people.
No, because "stand your ground" doesn't even apply here. You can't just chase somebody down, attack them, kill them, and then get off by claiming you were "standing your ground." Allowing somebody to do that isn't upholding the law, it's distorting the law to fit your prejudices on who must be the guilty party.
Where's Jeb Bush on his... Hiding like Zimmerman I guess... Cowards always talk tough
You have that right!
Just can't wait for his EVIL brother and illegitimate president, GWB be arrested and put before International Criminal court.
This guy has teabagging / birther, redneck trailer trash written all over him. Yeeehaaawwww!!! What time does nascar come on ??
Yeb I'm glad you SEE that too!
A REAL closet RACISTS in police uniform. He should be stripped of ALL his benefits.
This man is a wimp....
The only person in this scenario who had a right to "stand his ground" was Trayvon ... Zimmerman was pursuing him, in the dark, accosted him without legal authority while branishing a 9mm hand gun ... Trayvon had every right to stand his ground and to meet the assault by Zimmerman with force ... Zimmerman initiated the confrontation and was the aggressor ... Cops are covering for Zimmerman ... would suggest they and their chief have a relationship with Zimmerman that they are trying to protect – on call "confidential informant" any time they need to fabricate probable cause?
Keyword is "temporarily" – wow, next time something happens, I'm going to claim it was self defense and then they can't arrest me. Maybe I could use it in speeding citations, stop sign running or heck, probably a million other ways. Doesn't our state legislature, Governor and law enforcement officials see a problem with the precedent that was set?
It is beyond belief that in a non-relation homicide the surviving party would not be detained and questioned at police headquarters, and held until after all the evidence had been processed. The only thing the Sanford Police Department did was ask Zimmerman a few questions at the scene, take some picture, and let him go on his merry way ... after shooting a teenager.
I'm sorry, but the entire police response has not only been incompetent, but downright negligent ...
Nothing worse than crooked cops.
Oh yes there is: people like you with an I of Zero, but thanks for someone had to set the low end.
It's not wonder people don't trust them anymore.
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