The Sanford, Florida city commission, in a 3-2 vote, signaled their lack if confidence in police chief Bill Lee Jr. over the handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting investigation. What that vote means, though, is unclear. “The commissioners cannot fire the police chief, Bill Lee Jr., who reports to the city manager. Norton Bonaparte, the city manager, said he would take the no-confidence vote under advisement,” nytimes.com reports. The Seminole county state’s attorney and the US Department of Justice have also opened investigations in the February 26 incident. Commissioner Velma Williams, who voted against the chief, was quoted as saying, “Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder can see through all of this.”

UPDATE: Chief Bill Lee has announced that he will step down temporarily “in hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to this city.” City manager Norton Bonaparte has begun a search for an interim chief.

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60 Responses to Sanford Commissioners Vote No Confidence in Chief Bill Lee Jr. After Trayvon Martin Shooting

    • Yes – stop watching it and reading it. Also, stop buying the products sold by their sponsors, and be sure to let the companies know why you’re no longer buying their products.

  1. Can we give a no confidence vote to the Sanford city commission? All in favor say “Ye” all opposed say “I’m a fumbling bumbling idiot that has a ridiculous and unfounded expectations of law enforcement”

  2. A police chief has to be a smart politician as well as a LEO. That’s part of keeping the peace. Maybe Lee did all the right things, but in a city like Sanford, which has a serious racial divide, he should have known to put on a better political performance to keep things cool. Given the racial overtones of this case, a quick investigation was not going to be enough no matter what the outcome. Lee should have seen it coming.

    Well, he didn’t. Chief Lee may be the greatest officer of the law since Frank Hamer, but right or wrong he’s going to lose his job, and right or wrong Zimmerman is going to jail. And that’s that.

    • So, what you are saying is the Zimmerman is going to jail even if he was justified? That emotion will trump logic, facts and evidence?

      • Yes. Guilt or innocent, Zimmerman is going down. Florida’s SYG law is powerful but not absolute. He may or may not be indicted, and if indicted and tried he may win or he may lose. If he’s not indicted or he wins at the state level, the feds will step in and charge him with a civil rights violation. Those charges will stick because they always do.

        BTW, I posted that Lee would lose his job before the post was updated. My crystal ball sees all.

        • I think Ralph is being very pragmatic right now. The liberal media is calling for blood and anyone who gets in their way is culpable. Justice be dammed right or wrong this is what will happen. Just ask Rush what happens when you live in liberal land and make a mistake.

        • It would be hard to win even a civil rights case against Zimmerman. They would have to hold the trial outside of Florida. The race card has been played so Zimmerman’s attorney is going to play the Hispanic card if it comes to trial. Hispanics are the most important political block in Florida. Unless you exclude them from the jury — a sure way to lose on appeal — the case is untriable.

        • It could become a Tom Wolfe moment: Nobody’s even begun to calculate the public and private reaction of the Hispanic vote accurately in Florida or the South-West, LA. Suppose the feds throw their weight around big time. Lots of Rev Al on TV. Holder et al, having dumped guns in Hispanic land, now move on Florida. Sad Hispanic-appearing Jorge’s picture everywhere. Well-intentioned. “Got mugged on his way back to his SUV by an angry kid. Now going to prison for defending himself.” More like a “reverse Bonfire of the Vanities,” for what that’s worth. “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Imagine. Etch yourself a Sketch. Eight months.

        • It’s quite possible Al Gore lost Florida because he didn’t help a 6 year old Cuban boy stay in the US after his mother drowned at sea. It would be a shame to have The Socialist take Florida over this if the media is able to paint Florida as the wild wild west.
          Vote For Barry, for the sake of hoodie wearers everywhere will be their rallying cry

        • Except in this case the Reverand Al is going to end up pissing off the Hispanic vote if his antics turns this into a perceived anti-Hispanic witch hunt.

      • “That emotion will trump logic, facts and evidence?”

        That’s pretty much exactly the way it is with gun-grabbers; why should it be different for other leftists, like the ethnic victims and the white guilters? They’re all the same breed of worthless, drooling scum. Welcome to modern America.

        Sometimes when I think about how half the country is like that, I pray for civil war.

  3. I believe that Fox News is reporting that he has stepping aside for this investigation and that some captain will be taking his place until they find someone else. In unsurprising fashion, the FBI is persuing this as a Civil Rights case.

  4. SANFORD, Fla. — At a hastily called press conference Thursday afternoon, Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. announced that beleaguered police Chief Bill Lee Jr. is stepping down temporarily amid growing anger over his handling of the investigation into the killing of Trayvon Martin. Bonaparte told reporters that he hoped the move would “restore calm to the city of Sanford” and help speed the case through the legal process. He said that the city has not yet appointed an interim chief.

    “I am aware that my role as the head of the department has become a distraction,” said Lee at the press conference. “I have come to the decision to temporarily remove myself.”

    Source

  5. This development can have unpleasant consequences for citizens that use deadly force in self defense.

    A police cheif who lives in a politically tumultuous jurisdiction may decide to jail a LEO or citizen to not only defuse potential unrest but to ensure their own job security. I am certain it is not lost on the other thousands of police chiefs watching these events unfold that a lot of greif would be avoided had Zimmerman been locked up for the duration of the investigation.

    Note carefully that I am not deciding in this post whether or not Zimmerman did act in self defense or not. My observation is that police agencies now have a personal stake in locking up someone in a DGU should any doubt about events exist.That someone may even be law enforcement themselves, as this isn’t a concern that strictly resides with a non-uniformed member of society.

    • Nobody wants to see Rodney King type riots in their city, so Lee has to go and so does Zimmerman. The good of the many outweighs the good of the one or of the few. I think Mr. Spock said that.

    • @ ST
      maybe you are forgetting that pursuing a person without being a LEO does not make an incident a DGU, but a OGU (offensive gun use). you cannot pursue someone and then shoot them when they defend themselves from being illegally detained, and claim self defense.

      @ Pascal
      if you are trying to ascertain that the FBI was “pro civil right movement” you don’t know too much about their history. Ever hear of COINTELPRO?

      • It is not my place to decide the outcome of the Zimmerman investigation. One version or another the truth will be revealed. The point of my post is that police agency heads interested in continued employment who have a DGU on their hands may jail the survivor to jump ahead of any potential controversy.

        • There have been other DGUs in other towns with other consequences. If a chief is a good politician, he knows his audience and knows what to do.

          In NH recently, an overzealous neighbor discharged his gun near a burglar, hitting nobody, and was arrested. NH also has a SYG law (very recently adopted), and the man was released without charges.

          Were I arrested after a DGU, I would STFU except for letting the arresting officer know what he could do with his little pad and pencil. I’d be out in 72 hours or less and, frankly, I could use the rest and a few free meals.

      • sdog, the FBI and Civil Rights do have an ugly, ugly history, including their efforts to politically destroy MLK, among others, hardly the job of a law enforcement organization. We are right to be skeptical.

    • sdog, with everybody hanging that moron Zimmerman out to dry, I wonder why we would even bother with a trial.

      The two legislators are ass-covering and don’t understand their own law. Let’s use this as a hypothetical — I see a person breaking into my neighbor’s house. I run over to him (that’s the moron part) and say, “hey, fella, what the hell are you doing.” He comes after me with the prybar that he was using to jimmy the door — proving that he’s a moron, too — and I shoot the guy.

      According to the asshat who furnished the quote, I couldn’t rely on the SYG law because I initiated the action.

      Are you buying that?

      • No, I wouldn’t buy that. I have to ask myself: Is La Raza going to let them railroad Jorge? Has it come to that?

        • I think that the Hispanic groups are going to keep out of this. Relations between the black and Hispanic communities in FL are on shaky grounds and nobody wants to upset the applecart. That’s why Zimmerman is white.

      • Ok here is the problem in your scenerio, and a distinction. You see a crime i.e. neighbors house being broke into then instead of calling the police you try to be a hero. This kid was not commiting a crime, and there was no reason to approach him. It would be more similiar to you chasing someone down that was walking past your home and when the scared person is backed into a corner, you shoot him in self-defence. As a CCW advocate, and someone who tries to be prepared, but not proactive for violence, using this law in this way, is not good. The lefties among us can say “see it is the wild west again”. I don’t know all the fact, but it appears that Zimmerman was looking for trouble for a long time, and if this law applies to him, then my fear is that it won’t be around to protect me if I ever need it.

  6. ST: It is entirely likely that other Chiefs around Florida would already have been inclined to charge and hold Zimmerman under the original facts, and would have been inclined to do a very thorough photographing and search of the area nearby, including the use of spray-and-light to identify any blood drops or smears in the area. For instance, it was very important to determine the exact location (if possible) of the first blood from Zimmerman’s scalp. But even more important: It was raining: The footprint search should have been extremely thorough, followed up by the use of a dog to track their movements from the street if possible. If these were not done, the harm done by Lee’s decisions that night will rebound as much upon Zimmerman as anyone. He was not doing Zimmerman a favor even if Zimmerman’s statement that night was honest. With one shooting per year in the area, the expense of such thoroughness would not be inordinate.

    [I would like to add what I find remarkable in Zimmerman’s routine, for critique by others: I was astounded that Z would hop out of his SUV on a dark and rainy night (and with the intention to come close to a ‘suspicious’ person without a bright flashlight and pepper spray, these for his OWN safety. Am I the only person who thinks these are essential first-order defenses? Correctly used, they offer a defender a safe low-liability defense in an ambiguous situation, should one arise. It adds no delay to simply drop them as one goes for a more powerful item if needed. They can be in hand even while there is no certainly of a major threat. Both provide a non-lethal defense against dogs, and we know from a 911 call that one was loose in the immediate area.]

      • I guess that’s the central fact. “Hard cases make bad law.” Well, cases involving morons make bad law, too, unless it’s specifically about the laws governing morons. Sanford has my sympathy, at this point.

    • Ropingdown,

      I concur with your assessment of Zimmerman’s presumed activities and lack of tactical preparation. If he indeed did follow Martin in his vehicle and get out to question or confront him, which was ill-advised, he was woefully unprepared. In fact, it seems the only thing he was prepared for was a shooting. He had no lower or intermediate reaction tools–just as you suggested (flashlight & pepper spray). I think he should have stayed in the vehicle and followed Martin to his destination, if necessary. He could even have kept the 911 operator on the phone. Getting out of the vehicle seems to have also been an escalatory action, in addition to being an unsafe one.

      I want to wait until the fuller story emerges, but it seems that this may have been a completely avoidable tragedy prompted by a series of poor decisions.

      • “…but it seems that this may have been a completely avoidable tragedy prompted by a series of poor decisions.”

        Now there’s an understatement. I hope neighborhood watch type groups everywhere are taking to heart the idea that they should always patrol in pairs.

  7. I can see the Sanford politicians are throwing their Police Chief under the bus with Zimmerman. It would be interesting to see the preliminary Sanford Police Report about the shooting. In one article, Bill Lee hinted around that Martin had attacked Zimmerman and Zimmerman used his gun for a DGU. Problem is that you never really get a definitive detailed report and any responses from the Zimmerman-Lee side are vague and nebulous.
    I imagine that the Feds will charge both Lee and Zimmerman with some sort of violation of human rights if all else fails.
    I will say that the mainstream media have done their very best to portray both Zimmerman and Lee in the worst light possible.
    The Sanford Police is being blasted for having a hostile history to Blacks as well.

  8. I think Ralph is being very pragmatic right now. The liberal media is calling for blood and anyone who gets in their way is culpable. Justice be dammed right or wrong this is what will happen. Just ask Rush what happens when you live in liberal land and make a mistake.

  9. zimmerman is not persecuted Tom, he is a coward who bit off more than he could chew. Chasing someone and then shooting them, even though you are bigger than them is pure cowardice.

    the police “investigation” (more like racilized incompetence) is what is causing his “temporary leave” from police chief, not the “lame stream media” Maybe you should review how a proper investigation of ANY kind is conducted.

    • Let’s keep it to the facts and let an speculation fall out from those facts. I don’t think Zimmerman was bigger than Martin. Martin is 6’2″ and by one account of a witness who called 911, Martin had Zimmerman down on the ground and was beating the snot out of him.

      • And Martin would be much faster than Zimmerman so he would have the advantage of either running away or closing and choosing combat with Zimmerman at his discretion. I think Zimmerman was heavier, but mostly just fatter.

      • I laugh when people emphasize the 140 lbs. Robert Duran, one of the greatest boxers in history, won his first three professional lightweight bouts weighing in at super-lightweight level 140 lbs. He was 16.

    • Except, Zimmerman supposedly suffered wounds to his nose and the back of his head. I really do not see how if he just waltzed up to Martin and shot him that he would have a torn up scalp on the back of his head.
      Which is why I would like to see a full blown Police Report on this incident.
      As far as I am concerned, the media is not really reporting the news here.

  10. Zimmerman thought that by having a gun, it made him a better fighter. He got his ass whooped and decided to shoot Martin in retaliation. Dont need an “official police report” to tell me that. The police are human beings just like me and you and have the same reasoning skills. If I’m on the phone with my girlfriend and someone charges up to me, IN THE DARK, asking me what am I doing, he deserves every bit of an asswhooping. How was Martin supposed to know what this guys motives were? Could he not have been frightened himself? As far as the media portraying these individuals in a negative light, thats bull. Regardless of how you feel about liberals, the media, whoever, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, people are gonna call it a duck! Some of you guys are just trying to pour syrup on shit and call it pancakes…

    • You assumed your conclusion. You predicated that carrying a gun means a person is the one who starts a fight if one occurs. That is exactly what we don’t know: “Who made the physical move on whom.”

  11. Guy comes up to you and asks you what you’re doing and you whup his ass, then you’d be the one going to jail. On no planet is a verbal altercation a rightful basis for a physical assault.

    Enjoy your pancakes.

    • Guy follows me in an SUV, at night, then chases after me when I start to walk faster, is more than enough reason to knock his dick in the dirt. He didn’t just pull up beside him and roll down the window to talk to him, he GOT OUT and PURSUED him. He gets KTFO’d all day, everyday, and maybe twice on Sunday.

      BTW I’m more of a waffle guy anyway:-)

    • Guy follows me in an SUV, at night, then chases after me when I start to walk faster, is more than enough reason to knock his dick in the dirt. He didn’t just pull up beside him and roll down the window to talk to him, he GOT OUT and PURSUED him. He gets KO’d all day, everyday, and maybe twice on Sunday.

      BTW I’m more of a waffle guy anyway:-)

    • Alternate perspectives can’t hurt: There is a horror one has to experience to believe, and that is this: That we end up in court with a case in which we (or our client) are in the right, but all their most foolish behavior was witnessed, and the critical violence or fraud by the other party took place in darkness unseen by anyone but the parties. It can be a long slog at best if that is the reality in Sanford. It reminds me of the grade-school ploy in which a kid punches the guy next to him when the teacher steps out of the room. When that guy retaliates….the teacher has just walked back into the room.

  12. ZIMMERMAN IS A MORON AND ANYONE THAT DEFENDS HIM OR THE POLICE CHEIF IS CAUSING HARM TO OUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS AND STAND YOUR GROUND.

    • THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT. BTW, YOU LEFT OUT ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIKE THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      And congratulations on receiving your equivalency diploma. You’re a credit to the American educational system.

  13. I am sure as others have I have heard the complete 911 take of Zimmerman calling in to report this. Not only did he follow this kid he actually chased the kid and was told not to by the 911 operator. You can clearly hear him getting out of his car with the open door alert going off in the back ground and the 911 operator again asking him to go back to his car or home. Oh yeah telling the operator I am tired of this crap they always get away while not just walking after him but running after him is not going to go over well for him. He should be judged by his peers but being tried in the media there is no way he gets a fair trial. But cmon we all know it is best to avoid conflict as it is the best defense, but no Zimmerman decided no only to confront conflict he got out of his car and chased it down.

    • This incident is a FUBAR on all fronts. I am sure both participants made mistakes that ended with Martin’s death. The break-ins and other activities leading up to that night made the situation even more volitile. I doubt Martin responded calmly to Zimmerman’s questions. I doubt Zimmerman presented his questions calmly. The only thing that really matters is who attacked initially. Following someone in your neighborhood and asking them what they are doing is not illegal. I’m not saying it’s the brightest thing to do, but it is within the law. Those posters saying he chased Martin down seem to have forgotten this.

      “Guy follows me in an SUV, at night, then chases after me when I start to walk faster, is more than enough reason to knock his dick in the dirt. He didn’t just pull up beside him and roll down the window to talk to him, he GOT OUT and PURSUED him. He gets KTFO’d all day, everyday, and maybe twice on Sunday.” -Aaron

      Aaron, I hope you think this through before you respond like this in a real life scenario. These actions can get you in a world of hurt. Being the physical aggressor in a verbal conflict is a sure way to open the door to a DGU, a prison sentence, or at the very least, a civil suit.

      • I have defended myself in such a manner. I was defending myself with my hands and feet way before i started carrying a gun. Im not some hot tempered individual, but in that scenario Zimmerman would have been out before he even thought to draw his gun. He bit off more than he could chew, and then shot the kid. It happens all the time. The only thing that doesnt happen all the time is the killer going home with the murder weapon.

  14. I too hold no confidence in Chief Bill Lee Jr. because he didn’t immediately arrest Zimmerman even though he had no grounds for doing so. No confidence in his ability to enforce what I THINK should be the law! No confidence, I tell you!

  15. I came across this local news report on another blog. It is an interview with the man who witnessed part of the fight the day after it happened. He wasn’t observing it from across the street. It took place on his front lawn.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThfWhsgw48o

    Regardless of what you think about Zimmerman’s ultimate responsibility, if it goes to trial game, set, match — not guilty.

    • how is he not guilty? If he had minded his own business and let the police do what we pay them to do, this kid would still be alive. It doesnt matter what happened after he got out the car. His fate was sealed as soon as he unbuckled his seatbelt. Not guilty?!? I seriously doubt it.

  16. Unless you can tell me what happened between the time he hung up with his girlfriend and the final struggle on the witness’s lawn the only evidence we have is Martin on top of Zimmermann beating him up while Zimmerman called for help.

    Did you even bother watching the video?

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