Sanford, Florida Police Chief Temporarily Steps Down

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee announced that he is stepping down temporarily at a news conference Thursday.
by | March 22, 2012
SANFORD, FL - MARCH 22: Sanford Police Department Chief Bill Lee (L) speaks while announcing he will temporarily step down in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing as Sanford city manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. (R) stands by on March 22, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Many protesters are expected tonight at a rally organized by Rev. Al Sharpton to demonstrate against the killing of the black unarmed teenager by a white and Hispanic neighborhood watch captain. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Getty Images

The police chief at the center of the fatal neighborhood watch shooting of an unarmed black U.S. teen says he is stepping down temporarily because he has become a distraction.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee made the announcement at a news conference Thursday. Lee has been criticized after police did not arrest George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the teen to death on Feb. 26.

The police chief has said authorities were prohibited from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time of the shooting.

Zimmerman claims the shooting was self-defense. He told police 17-year-old Trayvon Martin attacked him after he had given up on chasing the teenager and was returning to his car.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press


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