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Monday, April 23, 2012
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Resigning After Trayvon Martin Backlash

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Resigning After Trayvon Martin Backlash

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee is expected to resign on Monday afternoon following widespread backlash which reportedly stems from his handling of the Trayvon Martin case.

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett called for a special meeting with city commissioners at 4 p.m., advising that they would consider adoption of a "resolution relating to the police department," according to CBS News.

Lee, who temporarily stepped down on March 22 along with the city prosecutor, has been heavily criticized over his department's handling of the Martin investigation after failing to arrest George Zimmerman, who admitted to killing 17-year-old Martin who was unarmed in a Florida gated community.

Zimmerman, who was eventually charged with second-degree murder, was barely questioned by police and even let go soon after the Feb. 26 killing, which critics attribute to Lee's failure to appropriately handle the case.

Police had initially told Martin's distraught parents that the 28-year-old self-appointed neighborhood watch captain had a clean record, despite him having a previous arrest for violence and battery against a police officer in 2005.

Zimmerman was never tested for drugs and alcohol, even though the dead teenager was, and police also failed to check for substantial evidence, such as cell phone records for Martin and Zimmerman after the shooting, according to the Huffington Post.

Several witnesses also claimed that police attempted to manipulate them during questioning and twisted their statements to match Zimmerman's self-defense claim.

The case sparked public outrage and Lee's mishandling even prompted death threats to him and his family, which led to at least one arrest.

Zimmerman faces up to life in prison if convicted in Martin's killing, and was quietly released on $150,000 bond over the weekend.

On Friday, Zimmerman used his bond hearing as an opportunity to address Martin's grieving parents who sat in the courtroom.

"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was, I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not," Zimmerman said in court.

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