Earlier today, Sanford police chief Bill Lee told reporters during a brief press conference that he would “temporarily” step down as head of the police force.
Since Trayvon Martin was murdered on February 26, police have been criticized for mishandling the case. After the shooting, George Zimmerman was not arrested, his gun was not confiscated, and police have not seemed to credibly investigate the case. Both the Department of Justice and Florida state attorney have stepped in to investigate the teen’s murder, and many are hoping these new developments will lead to an arrest.
During the press conference, Lee said he no longer wanted to be a distraction.
“As a former homicide investigator, a career law enforcement officer and a father, I am keenly aware of the emotions associated with this tragic death of a child. I’m also aware that my role as a leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation.
“I must temporarily remove myself from the position as police chief for the city of Sanford. I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to a city which has been in turmoil for several weeks,” he said. “It is my hope that the investigation will move forward swiftly and appropriately through the justice system and that a final determination in this case is reached.”
While it’s unclear if Lee will reassume his role as Sanford police chief once this case is completed, residents of the city are happy to see him go. In the past three years Sanford has had three police chiefs, all whom have stepped down amid controversy.