March 22nd, 2012
03:45 PM ET

Sanford police chief 'temporarily' steps down

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.

soundoff (480 Responses)
  1. Dott

    Does anyone out there remember a year or so ago when a black man shot a young white father on a basketball court? He had just returned from Iraq and was there with his daughter who was to witness the murder. There were words between the two men and then the gun came into play. The black man shot a white Veteran dead and never went to jail – did not even get arrested. Does anyone remember that? Guess everyone has forgotten that except maybe the young girl who misses her daddy.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Momswho care

      Try to keep up this story is about a CHILD! Not two adult men!

      March 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      He was 17. That's not quite a child.

      March 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sandy

    well said dott, but that does count, blacks are allowed to act like animals, except when it's against them.....

    March 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jafet

      I do not have knowledge of any bndnliug agreements or plans, but we are making a Graffiti release for WHS that is an actual WHS add-on and uses the API. So it will be simple to install and manage.Whereas Community Server will certainly run on WHS (I use WHS at home and have a test CS install on it), but would require a manual install and Telligent will not provide any WHS-specific support for it.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. follow the blood

    It seems that if Trayvon were on top of Zim. administering a beating, and Zim shot him at that close range, the blood spatter "blowback" would have covered him in blood. There was no hint of that in the reports. So, if they were apart by more that a couple of feet, Zim did not have the right to shoot, especially with the boy calling for help. It would be hard to picture Zim. yelling help as he was in the act of pulling the triger. Either way there is a story tp be told by the blood spatter.i

    March 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. follow the blood


    March 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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