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Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Bill Lee is fired
June 22, 2012: Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Bill Lee, who stepped aside temporarily three months ago amid a national outcry about his department's handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting, was fired Wednesday night, June 20, 2012, by City Manager Norton Bonaparte, Jr., effective immediately, according to The Orlando Sentinel. "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 a statement. "We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support. I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city." Lee characterized his firing late Wednesday, June 20, as "without cause." In a statement, he said the department's work on the Trayvon case has been misrepresented, and he predicted that it would eventually be seen as "a proper effort to find the truth and follow the law." City Commissioner Patty Mahany, a Lee supporter, said that she did not expect Lee's firing. "Mr. Bonaparte clearly stated to me on Monday [June 18] that he would base his decision regarding police Chief Lee on a City Commission vote of no confidence," Mahany said. "This caught me by surprise." Under the city charter, Bonaparte oversees the Police Department and can hire or fire the Chief without City Commission approval.