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Resignation of chief in Martin case rejected

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 23, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.

— The Sanford city commission rejected the resignation of the police chief harshly criticized for his handling of the Trayvon Martin case.

The commissioners voted 3-2 Monday to reject the resignation of Bill Lee. The majority blamed the uproar surrounding Martin's death on outsiders.

Police did not initially charge 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who says he shot the 17-year-old Martin in self-defense.

Florida law gives people broad leeway to use lethal force if they believe their lives are in grave danger. The Feb. 26 shooting sparked protests nationwide, as well as debates about the laws and race. Martin was black; Zimmerman is the son of a white father and Hispanic mother.

Lee temporarily stepped down as police chief on March 22, saying he wanted to let tensions cool.

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