VIDEO: Ex-Sanford Police Chief Was Pressured To Arrest Zimmerman — Fired For Refusing To Arrest Without Probable Cause
Guest Post by Mara Zebest
An Ex-Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee tells CNN he was fired for not arresting Zimmerman. Bill Lee was pressured by city officials who didn’t care if Zimmerman was innocent, the city officials just wanted an arrest. Bill Lee told the officials you can’t arrest without probable cause, and was fired for upholding Zimmerman’s constitutional rights.
CNN reports the following:
The George Zimmerman investigation was hijacked “in a number of ways” by outside forces, said the former police chief of Sanford, Florida.
Bill Lee, who testified Monday in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial, told CNN’s George Howell in an exclusive interview that he felt pressure from city officials to arrest Zimmerman to placate the public rather than as a matter of justice.
“It was (relayed) to me that they just wanted an arrest. They didn’t care if it got dismissed later,” he said. “You don’t do that.”
When Sanford police arrived on the scene on February 26, 2012, after Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they conducted a “sound” investigation, and the evidence provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman at the scene, he said.
It had nothing to do with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, he said; from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense.
Zimmerman told police he killed Martin after the teen attacked him. While the evidence at the time corroborated that claim, the ex-chief said, Lee’s lead investigator made a recommendation that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter.
It was a matter of protocol, Lee said. Arresting Zimmerman based on the evidence at hand would have been a violation of Zimmerman’s Fourth Amendment rights, he said. Thus, the Sanford police presented a “capias request” to the state’s attorney, asking that the prosecutor determine whether it was a “justifiable homicide,” issue a warrant for arrest or present the case to a grand jury.
“The police department needed to do a job, and there was some influence — outside influence and inside influence — that forced a change in the course of the normal criminal justice process,” Lee said. “With all the influence and the protests and petitions for an arrest, you still have to uphold you oath.”
“That investigation was taken away from us. We weren’t able to complete it,” he said. […]
Read more here.
Additional evidence towards rigging of the game in the video below. This is unbelievable as it displays a clear bias to influence a conviction. The Judge attempts to force Zimmerman into a response after telling him he has a right not to respond (also refuses to allow Zimmerman’s lawyers to represent and answer for Zimmerman). NationalReview reported on this testy exchange.
NationalReview reports the following:
A hostile exchange took place in the courtroom today where George Zimmerman is on trial for second degree murder as Judge Debra Nelson questioned the defendant about his plans to testify.
Nelson reminded Zimmerman that he has the “absolute right to remain silent” if he so desires and proceeded to ask him whether he was prepared to testify. Defense attorney Don West twice objected to the question, but was overruled by Nelson, who explained, “The court is entitled to inquire if Mr. Zimmerman’s determination [sic] as to whether or not he wants to testify.”
The judge then began asking Zimmerman how much time he requires to determine whether or not he would like to testify. West again objected to the question and asked for more time to speak with his client, prompting Judge Nelson to raise her voice and exclaim, “Your objection is overruled!”
The tension escalated as another of Zimmerman’s defense attorneys, Mark O’Mara, was overheard asking under his breath, “What is going on?”
Kathi Belich, a journalist following the trial for a local news channel, tweeted her surprise at the line of questioning, writing “I have never seen that in more than 30 years of court reporting.”