Sanford City Council Votes No Confidence In Police Chief

SANFORD, Fla. (CBSMiami) – In a 3-2 vote Wednesday night, the Sanford City Council said they have no confidence in the city’s police chief, Bill Lee.

Chief Lee had been on the job just 10 months before the Trayvon Martin murder and investigation began to come apart. Lee originally said the shooter, George Zimmerman, had no criminal record, even though he had been arrested before, but beat the charges.

Wednesday’s action came during an emergency meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the thousands of people headed to the city for rallies Thursday. It also comes amidst growing pressure on the local and national level for Lee to step down.

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous joined local NAACP leaders at an open forum to hear local residents offer testimony on alleged abuses and discrimination by the Sanford Police Department.

“It hurts me,” said April Bonilla. “It hurts me that the young kids are scared to go anywhere.”

“For you to be riding down the street and police to throw stop sticks underneath your car and tell you that, ‘Oh, I thought you were somebody else,’ I could have been Trayvon Martin. I could have been dead,” said Sanford resident Myronette Boynton.

Mayor Jeff Triplett said he voted against the chief over his management and “communication,” according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. Sanford city manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr. said he would wait for an independent investigation before making a decision on the chief, the Herald reported.

Jealous of the NAACP said he doesn’t believe the immense pressure building around the case will explode.

“If it hasn’t bubbled over, and it’s been a month after, my faith is that the people of this community will keep pushing for justice,” Jealous said.

Children in Sanford expressed their concern over their own safety in the city after the shooting.

“People like that can be scary and they can hurt you really bad,” said Brian Bonilla.

The NAACP plans to submit this testimony to the Department of Justice, which is investigating the shooting.

But even with the calls for action growing, some people still defended Zimmerman.

“George never came to any HOA meeting dressed up in camouflage,” said Zimmerman’s friend Frank Taaffe. “He was Bernard going on subways looking for black males with screw drivers.”

Taafee said he believed Zimmerman’s story that the shooting was self-defense. He said Zimmerman should have pursued Martin like he did because “he just wanted to know what’s up, who you are, what is going on man?”

The NAACP meeting followed an earlier rally Wednesday demanding that George Zimmerman’s concealed weapons permit be revoked. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch volunteer who claims he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self-defense on February 26.

Local pastors and members of the Florida Civil Rights Association gathered outside the Florida Division of Licensing in Orlando.

“The public believes that Mr. Zimmerman is not fit to maintain his license because he has demonstrated to be a clear threat to public safety,” said J. Willie David III, president of the FCRA. “We are demanding Zimmerman’s gun permit be suspended and immediately seized by the state.”

WEB VIDEO EXTRA: ORLANDO RALLY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN

Zimmerman has not been charged in the shooting.

Trayvon, an unarmed Miami Gardens teen, was killed Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch volunteer while walking through a Sanford gated community, returning from a candy run to a 7-Eleven. The volunteer, George Zimmerman, 28, said he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him.

The fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested has set off a firestorm of criticism.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said it is sending its community relations service this week to Sanford to “address tension in the community.”

Earlier in the week, the federal agency opened a civil rights probe into the shooting, and in Florida, Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger said a grand jury will meet April 10 to consider evidence in the case.

Former federal prosecutors said there are limitations to a Justice Department civil rights probe, which typically would involve a sworn law enforcement officer accused of abusing his authority.

In this case, they said, it’s not clear whether Zimmerman had any actual law enforcement authority or if the Sanford Police Department did anything improper. Zimmerman had a permit to carry a gun, but it was not required for his neighborhood watch patrol.

“I think the community has the feeling that there’s some type of cover-up,” said Jeffrey Sloman, former U.S. attorney in Miami. “At least the department’s involvement makes sure it gets some review. He wasn’t a police officer. I’m sure that this is going to be a tough case to prosecute.”

An online petition urging local authorities to prosecute Zimmerman had drawn more than 800,000 signatures at the website Change.org as of Wednesday afternoon.

Another large rally, organized by community activist and Rev. Al Sharpton, is planned Thursday at the First Shiloh Baptist Church at 7:00 p.m. in Sanford.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. DAJtv says:

    Did Trayvon get to stand his ground? I don’t think he did. I think he was followed, pursued even, and I don’t think you can claim self-defense when you confront someone, especially after they were told to STAND DOWN.

    1. Sieandme says:

      Yes he did. His girlfriend suggested he run and Trayvon replied I ain’t running.

      In stead he decided to Stand His Ground.

      Is it at all plausible that Trayvon, angry about being followed by Zimmerman, approached when Zimmerman existed his vehicle, and with a little push demanded to know “Why are You Following me?”. Zimmerman, seeing what appeared to be a gun, shot and killed Trayvon out of fear of his life?

      Its a tragedy that a life was lost. But will justice truely be served if in fact Zimmermans story is true?

      Me, I would have taking my girlfriends advise and ran like the wind.

      1. DAJtv says:

        it is VERY possible. So Mr. Zimmerman, being an adult, also being older, wiser, and licensed by the state as a thoughtful man with a gun (concealed weapon permit), should have immediately re-entered his car and driven to a safe location, as he was INSTRUCTED TO DO. He is part of a Neighborhood WATCH, not a Neighborhood Militia.

        The use of deadly force against an unarmed child is not supported by our 2nd amendment, or the Stand Your Ground law. How could Mr. Zimmerman have felt threatened by this child? Because he believes that all people like Trayvon want to harm him. That makes him a R _ C I S _, and that makes this a racial crime.

        If Stand Your Ground means constitutional rights to “exist and be in public” are no longer valid, then SYG is unconstitutional.

        At a minimum, Mr. Zimmerman is guilty of denying Trayvon’s “Right To Exist.” As a constitutional crime the only proper response is a charge of treason and the sentence of death if convicted.

      2. Jim says:

        Zimmerman said Trayvon ran. Did you miss that part?

      3. LORD NATO says:

        YOU A SICK PERSON TO COMMENT THAT WAY

    2. carlos rodriguez says:

      I wasn’t there when this happened but I can say that Tray Marvin would be alive today if someone else was on patrol the night he was killed. Mr. Zimmerman was armed and extremely dangerous. He should have never been allowed to patrol that community. He was armed and eventually he was going to use his gun on someone who was innocent. He was paranoid.

  2. zebrotha says:

    Buy a clue, Ben Jealous…one needs to dress and behave in a civilized manner to be accepted in civilized society. Race pimps (including Obama, the DOJ and the NAACP) excusing the over representation of black violence as the so called “legacy of slavery” actually encourages black violence, while the civilized section of society, which is the _majority_ of America in all their colors, continue to remain justifiably wary of black thug dress, complete lack of manners and threatening behavior.

    “Historical slavery” is no excuse for the black pandering currently serving as an election platform for the Democrat Party. No modern person in America practices slavery and despite the media applause for black and Hispanic self segregation in pursuit of political favoritism, the practice is no less hostile, racist and unnecessarily polarizing, than it was when whites were encouraged to do the same thing by the past’s racist political profiteers. Today, after constant tax sucking, debt raising wars and welfare, not to mention a depression, no modern American has any of those so called profits from slavery…indeed, damned few people even have jobs or incomes, today, thanks to the Democrat’s socialist regime.

    (Not that the tax sucking Republicans are any better, in this one party welfare state, where exploitation is labeled “freedom,” by people “educated” to believe they are “entitled” to use politics to help themselves to whatever they want, from whoever has it. )

  3. John says:

    The clowns have arrived

    1. ron says:

      yes john, they are the racist naacp

  4. Vlado says:

    What difference does it make if he has the permit? The permit is to conceal a gun and use it in self defense, not to shoot people who are suspicious of a crime. A gun can neither be used to protect property or property loss.

  5. nancy says:

    The media is unebelievable. They’ve spun this out of control! What they need to do first is show a current picture of Trayvon not the old pictures they’ve been showing when he was much younger. Trayvon doesn’t look like that anymore! Second, why is the federal government getting involved??? When blacks kill white people we don’t spin out of control. Can you imagine? We’d be holding rallies every few minutes! Why doesn’t anyone hold a rally for the woman who had a cart thrown on top of her head by two black punks. This country is spiraling downwards….

    1. Nikki says:

      Another racist showing her true colors when you wouldn’t say that in person to a black person. Those (2) kids were HISPANIC. Just because their skin is tanned, doesn’t mean that they are BLACK. I thought you should know that. Obviously, there aren’t rallies against blacks bc if they slapped a white person, they’d be in jail. Stop being close-minded, we all know that if this was a white kid, Zimmerman would be in jail. Please, stop with the ignorance because I feel stupid responding you.

      1. Melissa says:

        There were no rallies for Eve Carson, Anne Pressly or Lauren Burk. The law that forces colleges to report campus crime is named for Jeanne Clery. Why don’t you look up each of these names and tell us why these four young women are not reason enough for white people to march against blacks? Once you do the research, I am SURE you will agree that there should be no rally for Trayvon. Of course, you are going to scream prejudice, but it just so happens I am leaning towards Trayvon being a victim of an overzealous crime watch person. And I am certain the reason people are trying to make such a big deal out of this is that they know very well incidents like this are rare (unjustified shootings of black males by non-blacks) and they can’t pass up the chance to get as much leverage from this as possible.

    2. LORD NATO says:

      NANCY I AM LORD NATO U ARE SICK GET CHECK OUT

  6. RANDRAND says:

    WE HAVE A NATIONAL ON-THE-STREETS SECURITY PROBLEM, FOLKS. IT WAS BAD ENOUGH, IN DAYS GONE BY, THAT THERE WERE LAX TRAINING PROGRAMS AND QUESTIONABLE MIDDLE MANAGER(AT OUTSOURCED AGENCIES) CONTRACT ELEMENTS OF QUESTIONABLE EDUCATION AND MANAGEMENT OFFICE/CLIENT SKILLS. NOW-WE HAVE RENEGADE AND UNREGULATED SELF-MANDATING PLODDING THE COMMUNITIES AND STREETS.! WHY? Y=O=U DIDN’T PAY-Y=O=U FRUSTRATED THE SYSTEM BY PAYING SLAVE WAGES AND MAKING A GRAB JOB WIDE OPEN TO ABUSE——THE GUARDS BECAME THE “CANNON-FODDER”—AND NOW THEY ARE UNEMPLOYED. THIS SANFORD SITUATION IS NOT J-U-S-T A RACIAL ISSUE. THIS IS A HEAD-IN-THE-SAND OSTRICH ATTITUDE TOWARDS YOUR OWN SAFETY SECURITY ISSUE..(WHO IS WATCHING THE WATCHERS AND THEIR STANDARDS?)

  7. ron says:

    this is the third instance of blacks being shot by a white guy this year ????
    how many black on black crimes were there this year ????? why wasnt rev al marching on one of those shootings ??
    ncaap is a racist turd in the punchbowl

  8. tincup says:

    Here we go again, Mr. Al Sharpton and his CIRCUS are coming to town, he follows the TV cameras where ever they go, we like to see that BIG smile again Mr. Sharpton.

  9. tincup says:

    Where is Jessie Jackson?

  10. fifi says:

    why play the race card?????I’ve been in situations the same way, deal with it, the girl will say anything to bring the race card in.

  11. fifi says:

    I am watchers of the present!!!!!!

  12. LORD NATO says:

    HI WORLD I AM THE BLACK ROTHCHILD IT IN BLACK&WHITE THE COPS SAID STOP CHASE HE DID NOT SO HE A KILLER

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