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Fla. police chief at center of Martin probe fired

7:52 PM, Jun 20, 2012   |    comments
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SANFORD, FL (AP) - A Florida city official says the police chief who was strongly criticized for his agency's initial investigation of Trayvon Martin's slaying has been fired.

Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Chief Bill Lee of duty on Wednesday because the manager said he "determined the Police Chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community." Bonaparte also cited the "escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city."

The initial lack of an arrest following the fatal shooting of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in February led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and self-defense laws.

Lee took a leave of absence in March and offered his resignation in April. The city council rejected Lee's resignation by a 3-2 vote.

Several council members wanted to let a Department of Justice review of the police investigation play out.

The Associated Press

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