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Sanford police chief tries to quit, unsuccessfully

Sanford, Fla. police chief Bill Lee, in a prouder moment.
Sanford, Fla. police chief Bill Lee, in a prouder moment.Facebook

The poor performance of Sanford police chief Bill Lee and his men in the Trayvon Martin investigation was considered by quite a few to be a fireable offense. One of those people today, it seems, was Sanford police chief Bill Lee.

Tamron Hall broke the news on "News Nation" this afternoon that Lee, who'd stepped down "temporarily" back in March after his name became synonymous with "embattled," planned to resign today, effective at midnight. Thing is, the city won't let him quit:

At the end of a spirited hour-long meeting, the Sanford city commission voted to reject Chief Bill Lee’s resignation, which he offered to the city earlier in the day. However, the commission decided to keep Lee off the job for now and search for an interim chief until a full investigation of his conduct could be completed. Lee temporarily stepped down last month after the commission voted it had no confidence in him.

“I’m not ready for him to come back to the police department. But I’m not sure I’m ready for this, either,” Mayor Jeff Triplett said, referring to the resignation.

If you think that quote from the mayor is incredible, wait until you read what the Orlando Sentinel reported on the story. I know this is a long excerpt, folks, but it's really difficult to believe these people let this stuff escape their lips:

Sanford City commissioners discussed Lee's resignation at a special meeting scheduled after Mahany said she received a call from Bonaparte informing her that Lee has submitted his resignation.

[City commissioner Patty] Mahany called Lee "one of the finest police officers in Florida," during this afternoon's special meeting.

"This is not right. Just on a human level," Mahany said.

Mahany, a Lee supporter, has said the attacks against the police chief are political.

"It's solely political…The city manager felt he had no choice," Mahany said earlier. "That there could be no healing with Lee as the police chief."

[City commissioner Randy] Jones said Lee "needs to be reinstated immediately" and that most of the issues regarding the police department stem from a small number of people in Sanford.

"For some, there is complete disdain of the police department, even if Jesse Jackson was the police chief," Jones said.

Yes, because police chief Jesse Jackson...wait, what? What is he even talking about? "This is not right," Patty Mahany said? "Just on a human level"? I wouldn't blame any of you if you all went around with blank stares on your faces for the rest of the day after reading that.

I didn't think that the Sanford police department and the city itself could embarrass themselves further after their men didn't arrest or charge a confessed killer after he shot an unarmed teenager to death, and then proceeded to let said killer remain free for nearly two months. It seems I was wrong.