Sanford, Fla., police chief stepping down 'temporarily'

5:02 PM, Mar 22, 2012   |    comments
  • Sanford, Fla., Police Chief Bill Lee at a news conference on Thursday, March 22. (CNN)
  • A Neighborhood Watch sign stands outside the gated The Retreat at Twin Lakes community where Trayvon Martin was shot by George Michael Zimmerman while on Neighborhood Watch patrol March 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. (Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)
    
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SANFORD, Fla. (WXIA) -- The police chief at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case says he is temporarily stepping down amid the controversy over Martin's death.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee says he must temporarily "remove himself" from duty, one day after the Sanford City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a non-binding no confidence measure.

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Lee made the announcement at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Martin was shot to death February 26, while walking to the home of his father's fiance. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman says he shot the 17-year-old boy in self-defense.

Zimmerman has not been arrested. Police say they have not charged Zimmerman because they have no evidence to contradict his story that he shot in self-defense, leading to a new debate over a controversial state law.

Florida's deadly force law, also called "stand your ground," allows people to meet "force with force" if they believe that there is danger of serious harm to themselves or someone else.

A protest in Sanford, headlined by Rev. Al Sharpton, is set for Thursday evening. Bus loads of people from across the nation are converging on the central Florida city for the protest.

(CNN contributed to this report.)

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