Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee speaks to the the media during a news conference Thursday, March 22, 2012 as city manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. listens at left, in Sanford Fla.
The Sanford police chief who failed to arrest George Zimmerman immediately following his fatal shooting of Miami-Dade teen Trayvon Martin four months ago has been terminated.
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte confirmed in a news release Wednesday night that Police Chief Bill Lee has been relieved of his duties effective immediately.
I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city, the manager said in the statement. The decision was made following a meeting earlier in the day.
The shooting of the 17-year-old has sparked a national outrage and movement and has painted the Central Florida city in an unfavorable light across the country.
After much thoughtful discussion and deep consideration for the issues facing the city of Sanford, I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community, Bonaparte said in the statement. . We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support..
A nationwide search will begin for a replacement.
According to Lees employment agreement, he will receive a severance of three months and one weeks salary, in addition to any earned time off.
I wish Chief Lee all the best in his future endeavors, Bonaparte said.