Police Chief in Trayvon Martin Case Steps Aside
Bill Lee says his move is temporary as criticism increases
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 3:25 PM CDT
An undated family photo shows Trayvon Martin.   (AP Photo/Martin Family, File)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Major fallout today in the Trayvon Martin shooting: The police chief of Sanford, Florida, has temporarily stepped down amid mounting criticism of how his department has handled the case, reports the Orlando Sentinel. "My role as the leader of this agency has become a distraction from the investigation," said Bill Lee. "I have come to the decision that I must temporarily relieve myself from the position as police chief for the city of Sanford."

Lee has come under withering criticism for his decision not to arrest George Zimmerman, the crime watch volunteer who fatally shot the unarmed black teenager. NAACP chief Benjamin Todd Jealous is among those who have called for Lee's dismissal. City officials today also promised regular news briefings on the case. "What the city wants most for the family of Trayvon Martin is justice," said the city manager.