Police Chief Steps Aside In Trayvon Martin Case
March 22, 2012 by staff
Police Chief Steps Aside In Trayvon Martin Case, The embattled police chief of Sanford, Fla. stepped aside Thursday amid international condemnation of his handling of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Police Chief Bill Lee’s temporary resignation came hours before a mass rally scheduled for the Orlando suburb.
Sanford city commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday that they had lost confidence in Lee amid uproar over his refusal to arrest the man who killed the unarmed black 17-year-old on Feb 26.
“I am aware my role as leader of this department has become a distraction from the investigation,” Lee said in a brief afternoon statement.
He said “temporarily removing” himself would restore a “semblance of calm to the city.”
Lee, formerly of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, took the job only ten months ago – after the previous chief quit amid an outcry over his refusal to arrest a cop’s son who brutally battered a black homeless man.
Lee had insisted for weeks that there was no probable cause to arrest George Zimmerman, the overzealous Hispanic neighborhood watchman who shot Trayvon as he went out to buy a bag of Skittles.
Zimmerman said Trayvon jumped him and claimed self defense. Cops never took him into custody or tested him for drugs or alcohol – though they tested the teen’s corpse.
Lee continued to say cops did the right thing even after it emerged that calls to 911 from worried neighbors captured the teen’s desperate cries for help and a single gunshot.
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