Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Denied Resignation
City commission votes to keep him
Hoping to step away from a storm he helped create, Sanford (Florida) police chief Bill Lee offered his resignation this past Monday. But, the city wasn't quite ready to see him go and denied the request.
Lee stepped aside just over a month ago as protest grew over his department's handling of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman who profiled the unarmed teen, calling him suspicious, after he spotted him walking around his neighborhood with a hoodie on.
Officers did not and could not arrest Zimmerman because he claimed self-defense, thus making him protected by Florida's Stand Your Ground law.
In a three-page letter explaining his resignation, Lee did not admit to any wrong doing and said that he was leaving his job at the suggestion of city manager Norton N. Bonaparte Jr., hoping "to allow the city to move beyond recent events.”
“The city has experienced great turmoil in the past two months," says Bonaparte via statement. "And we are hoping to stabilize the department and continue with this time of healing."
Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump agreed stating, “If Chief Bill Lee had recognized that his resignation would help start the healing process in Sanford, city leadership should have accepted it in an effort to move the city forward."
Instead, the city voted 3-2 in favor of Lee staying in his post.
“I am not ready to have him come back and run the Police Department,” says Sanford mayor Jeff Triplett. “But I am not ready for this, either.”