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Trayvon Martin Case: Police Chief Steps Down in Sanford After National Outcry

trayvon martin police chief

As interest and frustration surrounding the case of murdered teen Trayvon Martin builds, Sanford, Florida’s police chief is stepping down from his position, it has been announced.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee heads up what is perhaps the most hated police force in the country right now, and as many campaign for justice for Martin, the Miami Herald reports that Lee will be leaving his position effective immediately. The paper carried remarks from Lee in part addressing his decision to leave due to tensions in the community over the department’s failure to prosecute the man who shot Martin:

“I am aware my role as leader of this department has become a distraction from the investigation,” Lee said, adding that “temporarily removing” himself from the role would restore a “semblance of calm to the city which has been in turmoil for several weeks.”

The paper notes that Lee receives a salary of just over $102,000 annually, and that it is not clear whether he will continue to be paid after stepping down. The department is currently seeking an interim chief, and in the meantime, two captains will share Lee’s duties.

In addition to failure to arrest shooter George Zimmerman after the incident, troubling allegations about the handling of the case- such as the addition of exculpatory statement favoring Zimmerman on police reports when the case began to draw attention- have arisen. Among them, the Herald points out:

“One of the witnesses who heard the crying said she called a detective repeatedly, but said he was not interested because her account differed from Zimmerman’s… For nearly a month, police never noticed a profanity Zimmerman mumbled under his breath when he called police, which some people believe was accompanied by a muffled racial slur… Even though investigators have the dead boy’s cellphone, it was Trayvon’s father who combed through the phone records to discover that his son was talking to a girlfriend in the moments that led to his death.”

A week before Lee stepped down, he did an interview with the paper in which he asserted that the Sanford PD’s actions were “based on facts and circumstances not the color of the individual’s skin.”

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43 Responses to “Trayvon Martin Case: Police Chief Steps Down in Sanford After National Outcry”

  1. Arnold Stonehouse


  2. Denise Rice

    If this was a white kid shot it wouldn't be getting the attention. Yes it should be fully investigated and yes a young black man was killed by a white man but now that the media has gotten involved let the police do their job and everyone else should stay out of the way.

  3. Tammy Bingham

    He is wrong and should not be allowed to be free. What is wrong with this world???

  4. Joan Baile

    this guy was out to shoot that night, I think he needs to be behind bars, I am am so angry about this boys death, if it was not the boy it would have been someone else this guy is crazy.

  5. Darnisha Young-Allsbrook

    It's cleary evident the police weren't doing their jobs and this is why we even know about this.

  6. Nicole Lee

    If this was a white kid shot it wouldn't be getting the attention, because the shooter would have been arrested and justice would have been pursued from the beginning.

  7. Kathy Wyatt

    You are so wrong about that Denise Rice if it was a white kid Zimmermen would have been charged with murder and be sitting in jail. Like Nicole Lee siad Justice would have been served.

  8. LeAnne Nicole Wilson

    I want to know why the 911 operator told him to not do anything till the police got there and not only did he not get charged with murder but didn't even get charged with interference

  9. Rose Chatelain

    I am white and I don't care what color the young boy was.My heart goes out to the boy that lost his life and the boys family.That man that shot him should be punished!

  10. April Mcelrath


  11. Loretta Lyn Grier

    Why is there any debate about this when the police told him explicitly to step down, not pursue him after he called that he saw someone suspicious. And why did he not just talk tot he teen instead of pull his weapon when he was on the phone talking to his girlfriend when he was shot. How could he have attacked Zimmerman when he was on the cell phone? There are just too many things that don't line up. And regardless of who is what color, Martin was a human being and deserved to be treated as such and not a rodent. Without even approaching martin, Zimmerman could have asked him to stare his business, at a safe spot, and he would have found out the young man was not up to anything but going to a specific house. There are just too many things that could have been done to prevent the shooting of yet another black teen, minding his own business, not up to no good, holding candy and a drink. It's just another tragedy of a young life with so much prmise snuffed out before his time, all because of an ignorant, stubborn, "I don't care" attitude, and the legal force hired to defend the public making excuses for the guilty. Nothing but a damn crying shame!

  12. Deb Hassan Hammons-Purvis

    Not a white man,but a Hispanic who shot Trayvon. And maybe just MAYBE the race war will end.

  13. Loretta Lyn Grier

    Kathy Wyatt It is a shame that in our society color makes a difference but being married to a black man for seventeen years and having three mixed children, I can see many differences made, and it is true, there is a difference in how cases are treated according to color a lot of times. But there are so many facts in this case that if they were really all investigated and examined they could not help but come to the conclusion that this young man did nothing wrong, that any of our own children, God forbid, would have done as well. I have a nineteen year old son with hopes and dreams and I know I would be screaming from the hilltops until justice was done!

  14. Eileen WhoDat Corkern

    I am still trying to figure out why in the hell a "neighborhood watch captain" was patrolling with a gun. PLUS I am wondering why he felt "threatened" when the kid was walking while he was driving in a car. Zimmerman needs to face the music for what he did….HE DELIBERATELY SHOT AND KILLED A YOUNG, INNOCENT KID WHO HAD HIS ENTIRE LIFE IN FRONT OF HIM. Zimmerman wanted confrontation….if he didn't he wouldn't have brought a gun, he wouldn't have gotten out of his car, and he certainly wouldn't have shot anyone. Let him rot in hell.

  15. Kay Fogleman

    And that is exactly why this trigger happy racist should be behind bars until he goes to trial and is convicted of first degree MURDER and Never see the light of day again!!

  16. Joan Baile

    i don't think he will be back, i hope not, we are whit and color does not matter, we were all created by god

  17. Salita Swanson

    People listen to whst is going on through the 911 call… Zimmerman clearly gives a play by play discription of his action as he approaches Trayvon with the premeditated intention to kill him.. That child never approached him or walked toward him to check him

  18. Salita Swanson

    Out nor did he and nothing was wrong with Trayvon… Zimmerman is clearly walking through his own actions in the 911 call as he attacks and kills this Innocent young man. Read between the lines people.

  19. Christina Shaffer

    I am so sorry for the family of this child. If this is wat they want to call jystice in politics now, then my take is if that cheif ends up dead dnt be shocked. N the police wonder y so many pple own a gun nowadays, when they are paid w the pples tax money to protect the pple. I say fuck that if thats the best u can do pay the pple n they can do a hell of a better job protecting theirselves. God n a gun is all I need to protect me n mine n I think a huge percentage of the pple will tell u the same. God bless that family.

  20. John III

    This young man was gunned down for no other reason then being black in the wrong place and wrong time..sad how the hatred for one race stills boils over in this day in time…racism buried so deep in the U.S. You can never root it out,so sad

  21. Jessica Butt-Boggs

    I am so glad to read a post from someone who obviously read the article, listened to the calls etc. So many people are posting and its obvious they havent, so Thank You :)

  22. Jessica Butt-Boggs

    This young man was gunned down because of a trigger happy, wanna be robocop(but was turned down), with more testosterone than brains. I really dont think it would have mattered what color the boy was this time. He(zimmerman) was out to shoot!!! You are right about the never rooting out racism. Its never going away, NOBODY will let it :( Sad world we live in huh.

  23. Crystal Wheeler

    And the man that shot the young kid is not white, hsi ass his hispanic, if your going to comment on something plz know your facts, read the artical, look at his picture.

  24. Denise Rice

    I do hope that the police can arrest Zimmerman for what he did, but remember the police have to go by the laws of that county and state. And it is unfortunate that this young man was killed. As I said before now with the media attention people need to stay away and let the police do their job. Hold the vigils in the towns that your from not all go down to this town in Florida and make it harder for the police to do their job.

  25. Kathy Wyatt

    Loretta Lyn Grier As i would also , I know there's differance's in todays world . I also have a black fiance who i have been with 6 yr's now and a mixed grand children and i pray everyday that they wont have to live with the racism thats still out there. I hope they do the right thing before this man takes another life playing cop. This man is not in the nieghborhood watch assoiation . I just dont understand how they can let him run free/


  26. John III

    IM sorry Jessica but the race of the young man was a definate factor…this man has a fascination with black men and them committing crime,either that or just a deep hatred. He called 911 for like the 49th plus time to report a false report again on a person that wad a non threat but of color, black..I wish it wasn't that but you can't deny what was said (or mumbled) at the end if that call…all I can do is hope things are far less racial when my little ones are adults

  27. Jessica Butt-Boggs

    John III Im not going to try and deny "the mumbling". He called the cops on everybody in that neighborhood!!!(even white and other hispanics) I wish it wasnt this either. Unfortunately our kids(mine are small as well) will face the same "issues" as adults. All we can do is teach them what we know, and pray for the best :) Im with you though, maybe one day our children's hearts can outweigh others ignorance :)

  28. Jessica Butt-Boggs

    Because according to the mayor of Sanford, he didnt break any laws when he ignored the 911 operators "suggestion to not follow" Trayvon. The Police dept screwed up by believing Zimmermans account of what happened. NOt listening to the witnesses and EVERYBODY else. Now they are trying to cover their own butts by trying to blame the victim. Classic isnt it.

  29. Linda Alley Hipsher

    What the hell was a neighborhood watch person doing carrying a gun….that's outragous…they aren't cops with a legal right to carry a firearm….and what was self-defence about it…a gun VS a cell phone…the whole thing stinks and that's more than sad…news said this morning that the cops don't even know where the shooter is…his phones shut off and his home is empty…what does that say about how innocent he is…he should be behind bars.

  30. Loretta Lyn Grier

    I didn't think of it that way but you are very right. Neighborhood watch is supposed to be a non-violent organization to prevent violence, and they are not to be armed but report to the police, then let them do their jobs. And if he was in a car, he was safer in there than on foot, so no one, let alone an unarmed teen on foot himself. It just doesn't add up and the more I hear, the more I can see it is very fishy.

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