Update to story below:
AP Reports that suspended Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee's resignation has been rejected.
The Sanford City Commission rejected by a 3-2 vote the resignation of Police Chief Bill Lee, who was roundly criticized for not initially charging Zimmerman.http://www.google.com/...
Why would the Sanford City Commission reverse whatever tiny goodwill and peace they fostered with such an asinine vote?
Hat tip to mikeconwell for posting the Orlando Sentinel article. Sanford city commissioner Patty Mahany explains her reasons for rejecting police chief Lee's resignation:
Mahany called Lee "one of the finest police officers in Florida," during this afternoon's special meeting.http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...
"This is not right. Just on a human level," Mahany said.
Mahany, a Lee supporter, has said the attacks against the police chief are political.
"It's solely political…The city manager felt he had no choice," Mahany said earlier. "That there could be no healing with Lee as the police chief."
Jones said Lee "needs to be reinstated immediately" and that most of the issues regarding the police department stem from a small number of people in Sanford.
"For some, there is complete disdain of the police department, even if Jesse Jackson was the police chief," Jones said.
SANFORD, Fla. (KABC) -- On the same day as George Zimmerman's release on bail, Sanford's police chief will officially resign, sources told ABC News.http://abclocal.go.com/...
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee was expected to resign at 4 p.m. ET. He had been temporarily suspended last month, according to ABC News.
Zimmerman was released around midnight from a county jail after posting $150,000. He was wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans and carrying a paper bag. He met a man in a white BMW and drove away. His destination was unknown and was being kept secret for his safety. Some speculate it could be outside Florida.
As he walked out of the county jail, Zimmerman gave no statement to reporters.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said at a hearing Friday he cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. Zimmerman also surrendered his passport.
Quotes from former Sanford Police Chief, Bill Lee:
“We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”
"If the roles were reversed, our investigation would be exactly the same,” [Lee] said. “Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.”
Responses to the former Sanford Police Chief quotes:
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic
The approach here is not "either it's about race or it isn't." It's "this is about race along with..." From the outset, I sought to understand, not simply how the state of Florida's views young black men, but how its self-defense laws impact citizens, regardless of color.http://www.theatlantic.com/...
Moreover, it's worth understanding that this movement toward an absurdly low threshold for self-defense claims is a national one, which is making headway in states where very few black people live. As is often the case, black people bear a spectacular burden for bad public policy. But the burden is never solely--and rarely even mostly--born by black people.
The ACLU of Florida:
[W]hen Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, the person in charge of this investigation, told a reporter that "the investigation is color blind," there is reason for everyone to be concerned.http://aclum.org/...
Justice, Mr. Lee, is supposed to blind. But investigators should not be.
Your investigation needed to consider to what degree race was a factor in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Because we know that race matters.
We know what some people mean when they say someone looks suspicious. And we know that some people who say they are color blind really mean they only see in one direction--and ignore how attitudes about race are at the heart of so many problems.
And we know that too frequently people don’t see a racial issue because they want to see something else.
Some highlights in Sanford's Florida's history of racial relations:
Trayvon Martin's Death Extends Sanford's Sordid Legacyhttp://motherjones.com/...
The founder wanted to ship blacks to the Congo. Baseball's Jackie Robinson was run off. Now a slain 17-year-old is the Florida town's latest racial calamity.
Before he broke Major League Baseball's race barrier in 1947, Robinson played for a Dodgers farm team in Sanford—but only briefly. His presence in spring training that year so incensed white residents that they accosted the mayor and demanded Robinson's ouster. When the integrated team was physically prevented from taking the field, the Dodgers' owner moved Robinson out of town for his own good. "The Robinsons were run out of Sanford, Florida, with threats of violence," Robinson's daughter would later say....
"Over the years Sanford dug in its feet against change," a local newspaper editor told the New York Times in 1990. "It resisted integration, filling in the public pools rather than integrating them...."
In 2006 two private security guards—one the son of a Sanford police officer, the other a volunteer for the department—killed a black teen with a gunshot in his back. Even though they admitted to never identifying themselves, the guards were released without charges. Then, in 2010, Justin Collison, the son of a Sanford PD lieutenant, sucker-punched a homeless black man outside a bar, and officers on the scene released Collison without charges. He eventually surrendered after video of the incident materialized online; the police chief at the time was ultimately forced into retirement. "Bottom line, we didn't do our job that night," a police department representative told local news station WFTV of the incident.
As it would turn out, the Sanford patrol sergeant in charge on the night of Collison's assault, Anthony Raimondo, would also be the first supervisor on the scene of Trayvon Martin's shooting death.