Bill Lee: Sanford commission rejects resignation of top cop in Trayvon Martin shooting

Sanford Police Department Chief Bill Lee

The city commission in Sanford, Florida, rejected the resignation of the police chief who had stepped aside amid withering criticism over his department’s investigation into the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Sanford Police Bill Lee, on leave since his temporary resignation announced March 22, had been set to resign permanently as of midnight under a separation agreement submitted to him by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte.

But the five-member city commission governing the city voted 3-2 against the agreement in a special meeting on Monday, adding further disarray to the central Florida city of 50,000 that has been the center of national attention over the racially charged case.

“In light of the vote, Chief Lee will remain on paid administrative leave while an investigation continues into the handling of the Trayvon Martin case by the Sanford Police Department,” Bonaparte said in a statement.

Captain Darren Scott will remain as acting police chief.

Sanford police declined to arrest shooter George Zimmerman based on his story of self-defense, leading to a wave of civil rights protests around the country and a media firestorm.

Although the city manager – not the commission – normally has the power to fire the police chief, this particular separation agreement required commission approval, the city said.

The commission had voted “no confidence” in Lee by a 3-2 margin on March 21, leading to his temporary resignation the next day. But Mayor Jeff Triplett, who voted against the chief back then, voted against his resignation on Monday.

“Obviously my questions will be the effectiveness that will be still out there, if he can be effective,” Triplett, who had said he was not ready to seal the chief’s departure, said after the vote.

Citizens packed the city commission chamber with many people showing support for Lee. One man carried a sign saying “Bring back Billy.”

City Commissioner Patty Mahany opposed forcing Lee out, saying the city manager was influenced by the public demonstrations, which drew thousands activists from outside of Sanford to the city.

The regularly assigned prosecutor removed himself from the case the same day Lee stepped aside, and a special prosecutor later charged Zimmerman with second-degree murder on April 11.

Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail early Monday.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.