Sanford Police Chief Steps Aside
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee announced Thursday afternoon that he is stepping aside temporarily, given that his role as head of the agency is becoming a distraction.
Lee stepped aside less than one day after Sanford city commissioners passed a vote of no confidence in their police chief.
“I am keenly aware of the emotions associated with this tragic death of a child,” said Lee in a statement. “I am also aware that my role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation. While I stand by the Sanford Police Department, it’s personnel and the investigation that was conducted in regards to the Trayvon Martin case, it is apparent that my involvement is overshadowing the process. Therefore I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position as the police chief of the city of Sanford. I do this in hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to the city, which has been in turmoil for several weeks.”
Last night, city manager, Mr. Norton Bonaparte, the only one who could fire Lee said, a police report prepared by the Sanford Police Department on the fatal shooting of Travon Martin raised “troubling questions.”
Bonaparte said that, Captain Scott O’Connor will run the police department in the interim.
Martin’s fatal shooting by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, 28, has sparked outrage not only in Sanford but all across the nation. He was returning from a nearby convenience on the night of February 26, when he was confronted by Zimmerman, who called 911 to report that there was a “suspicious person” in the neighborhood. Shortly after, Martin was shot in his chest by Zimmerman with a 9 mm.
Zimmerman confessed to shooting Martin, but said he did so in self-defense, although 911 tapes make clear that he pursued the teen. Police have not yet brought charges against Zimmerman for the murder.