Sanford, Fl., police Chief Bill Lee, who stepped aside temporarily three months ago amid a national outcry over his department’s handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting, was fired last night night, says the Orlando Sentinel. City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. dismissed Lee, 52. “I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community,” Bonaparte said. “We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support. I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city.”
Lee said the department’s work on the Martin case has been misrepresented, and he predicted that it would eventually be seen as “a proper effort to find the truth and follow the law.” City Commissioner Patty Mahany, a Lee supporter, said that she did not expect Lee’s firing. Martin’s family and attorneys had for months called for Lee’s dismissal. “A child died, and there was an investigation that we don’t believe was done thoroughly,” said family attorney Natalie Jackson. “None of this is going to be happy.” George Zimmerman, who says he shot in self-defense, is in jail awaiting trial.