Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Bill Lee is “temporarily” resigning amid widespread criticism of his department’s handling of the Trayvon Martin case, he announced moments ago.
“My role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction for this organization,” Lee said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “It is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process. I have come to the decision that I must temporarily remove myself from the position of police chief of the city of Sanford.”
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said in a letter released Wednesday that police were “prohibited” from arresting George Zimmerman, who had confessed to shooting Martin, “based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time.” Zimmerman told local police he acted in self-defense.
Sanford police have been criticized for not conducting an alcohol or drug test on Zimmerman, as is standard practice in a homicide probe, among other alleged missteps. And a witness has said that a law enforcement officer “corrected” her when she said she heard Martin screaming for help. Lee had emerged as a focal point of the criticism.
Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, was patrolling the streets of a gated community in Sanford on Feb. 26, when he spotted Martin and told a police dispatcher that a “black male” was acting “suspicious.” Zimmerman, 28, ignored a warning from the dispatcher not to pursue Martin, and a violent confrontation ensued, leaving Martin dead.
If you took this situation and strictly presented it with the facts that can be proven with no mention of race, then there would be an overwhelming agreement that Zimmerman was in the wrong. But so many people’s perceptions get skewed by ignorance and fear. An article says “black youth,” and its automatically thought “he’s a thug and gangbanger, doesn’t matter that he was a good student or had no record.” Or you throw white gunman in there, and its automatically thought “a gun-toting racist”. No self-defense law would protect someone who had no authority to confront, chase, or corner someone. Zimmerman was the aggressor, and I would have reacted the same as the kid did here. He went against all standards that are set by Neighborhood watch association (he was self-appointed anyway). Also anyone who has taken a gun safety course or conceal carry course knows that he went against EVERYTHING taught in those classes. I’m white, and I would have reacted the exact same as Treyvan. I would also be dead, but Zimmerman would probably be in jail by now. I just hope the family gets justice.