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
International

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth pulls off epic photobomb

The selfie / photobomb has gone viral.

Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

Television

Kacy Catanzaro credits mind over body in "American…

Kacy Catanzaro credits her victory to mental focus and upper body strength.

Entertainment

Q&A: The brains behind 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. We talked with Christopher Locke of Glu Canada to find out more about developing the game.

Movies

The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer is…

Watch 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…