In a 3-2 vote on Monday, city commissioners in Sanford, Florida voted not to accept the resignation of embattled Chief of Police Bill Lee, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Lee submitted his resignation to City Manager Norton Bonaparte just hours before a city council meeting on Monday afternoon.
Bonaparte argued to the council that Lee’s resignation would be a step in the right direction and that it would help the city to move forward in the wake of the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, Jr. earlier this year. Nonetheless, the commissioners split on the decision, with Mayor Jeff Triplett and Commissioners Patty Mahany and Randy Jones voting not to accept Lee’s decision to resign.
Triplett, who said he wants to wait for the results of an internal investigation, asked Bonaparte about the resignation, “Is this something that can wait? I’m not ready to have him [Lee] come back and run the Police Department yet. But I’m not ready for this, either. I’d rather wait for the investigation.”
Lee faced a no-confidence vote in March, with a majority of city officials voting to have Lee removed from the job. The chief has faced widespread criticism for his department’s failure to arrest Zimmerman in the shooting. Police Captain Darren Scott is currently working as Acting Chief of Police. The city is expected to hire a new chief from outside the department soon.
Zimmerman, who turned himself in to Sanford police, faces second-degree murder charges. He was released from the Seminole County Jail on Monday on $150,000 bail.
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