Earlier today, Sanford police chief Bill Lee told reporters during a brief press conference that he would “temporarily” step down as head of the police force.

Since Trayvon Martin was murdered on February 26,  police have been criticized for mishandling the case. After the shooting, George Zimmerman was not arrested, his gun was not confiscated, and police have not seemed to credibly investigate the case. Both the Department of Justice and Florida state attorney have stepped in to investigate the teen’s murder, and many are hoping these new developments will lead to an arrest.

During the press conference, Lee said he no longer wanted to be a distraction.

“As a former homicide investigator, a career law enforcement officer and a father, I am keenly aware of the emotions associated with this tragic death of a child. I’m also aware that my role as a leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation.

“I must temporarily remove myself from the position as police chief for the city of Sanford. I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to a city which has been in turmoil for several weeks,” he said. “It is my hope that the investigation will move forward swiftly and appropriately through the justice system and that a final determination in this case is reached.”

While it’s unclear if Lee will reassume his role as Sanford police chief once this case is completed, residents of the city are happy to see him go. In the past three years Sanford has had three police chiefs, all whom have stepped down amid controversy.

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  • He is stepping away because he knows he should have handled the case with integrity and decorum-of which he didn’t. The killer is still free to kill another black boy.

  • LaDreaming86

    He’s stepping down to avoid being fired.

  • Tonton Michel

    He needs to be stepping to the unemployment line.

  • Dalili

    I hope the DOJ turns this temporary hiatus into a permanent one.

  • angel

    I have been following this story pretty close…….I feel like crying everytime I see that boy’s picture or hear his mother & father speak. I have signed the petition and urge others to as well. I would have marched if I could (in NYC). I do want to say that I know that celebrities are not our saviours BUT in this horrific case I want to know where they are? Where are the musical artists? the actors/actresses? the athletes? this is about all of us. The more publicity the better. This story HAS to stay in the limelight of the media to help ensure justice is served for Trayon. The media quickly tires of stories………celebrity voices will help keep the spotlight on Sanford, on Zimmerman, to hold them accountable.

    • Bunny

      The only celebrity I’ve noticed promoting the cause is Janelle Monae. Honestly, I kind of think she may be part of the reason it’s blown up so recently, because I never saw TV coverage or protests before she started tweeting every few minutes about it