Florida Police Chief Steps Down
As anger grows over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Sanford Police Chief Billie Lee is temporarily stepping down amid allegations his department botched the investigation. Video by fox47news.comvideo
Anger continues to grow over the shooting death of an unarmed Florida teen.
Hundreds of people held a rally Thursday night in honor of Trayvon Martin. Just hours before, the police chief stepped down temporarily amid allegations his department botched the investigation. The killer remains free.
Sanford police chief Bill Lee has been criticized after police did not arrest a neighborhood watch volunteer who killed an unarmed black teen.
"While I stand by the Sanford police department, its personnel, and the investigation that was conducted, in regards to the Trayvon Martin case, it is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process," Lee said.
Trayvon Martin was reportedly returning from a trip to a convenience store when George Zimmerman shot him on February 26th. Zimmerman claims the shooting was self-defense, saying the 17-year-old attacked him.
The justice department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation.
"As we gather the facts we will then determine whether facts support a prosecution under the civil rights laws that we enforce," said Tom Perez of the Justice Department's civil rights division.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, attending a rally along with the victim's parents, called for justice.
"Arrest Zimmerman now. That's what this rally is about. Investigate the entire police department from top to bottom. We don't need temporary relief, we need permanent change," Sharpton said.
"The temporary step down of Bill Lee is nothing. We want an arrest. We want a conviction, and we want a sentence for the murderer of our son," said Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father.
The state of Florida has appointed an independent prosecutor in this case, and a grand jury will be convened on April 10th to determine whether charges should be filed against the shooter.