Central Florida Urban League Supports The Dismissal of Former Police Chief Bill Lee
Civil Rights Organization Calls for the Repeal of the Stand Your Ground Law
ORLANDO, FLA. — The Central Florida Urban League today announced its support for Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr.’s decision to dismiss former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee.
"I applaud Mayor Jeff Triplett’s leadership and the city manager’s decision to preserve the safety of all citizens of Sanford," said CFUL President and Chief Executive Officer Allie L. Braswell, Jr. "This is a positive step in the right direction to help rebuild public trust in our officials and institutions, and to begin the healing process so that Sanford can move forward from this tragedy."
Following the Feb. 26 incident in which George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the CFUL called for the immediate arrest of Zimmerman, the removal of the police chief, the thorough investigation of the Sanford Police Department, along with the repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
Braswell recently testified before Governor Rick Scott’s task force looking into the Stand Your Ground Law. In his remarks, Braswell said that prior to passage, Florida already had laws that protected the right to self-defense and that the current law is vague and flawed.
Before Florida Statute 776 was passed in 2005, Florida averaged 12 justifiable homicides per year. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports the average today is 33. Studies indicate that "Stand Your Ground" laws have lead to an increase in murder and manslaughter rates. This law has proven difficult for law enforcement officials to uphold, and provides more leeway to "Shoot To Kill" than that is provided to soldiers on the battlefield who are governed by defined "Rules of Engagement" for the use of deadly force.
"The Urban League appreciates that the first step of the journey was accomplished with the arrest of Mr. Zimmerman, and we’re encouraged by the termination of the Sanford police chief," Braswell said. "We will continue to strongly urge the Governor's task force to conduct a thorough review of the Stand Your Ground Law."