Resignation of Chief in Martin Case Rejected

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


If he just can't resist getting messages out to his supporters, Zimmerman may be better off using Facebook and Twitter instead of his website because it probably has much weaker security than the social media sites, Ratliff said. Someone could find out where he is by hacking his website or an email account, he said.

"Anytime you are on the Internet, you are potentially traceable," Ratliff said. "The best way to not be found by anyone is to not use any technology at all."

Whatever means Zimmerman uses to hide, it could get expensive.

Zimmerman has limited resources. He was working at a mortgage risk management firm but stopped working there after the confrontation with Martin because of the public attention. His wife, Shellie, is in nursing school and doesn't work.

His attorney, Mark O'Mara, did not return phone calls Monday but has ruled out Zimmerman getting a job while he is out on bail. And O'Mara wrote in court papers that Zimmerman "has no significant financial assets or savings."

Zimmerman at least has some experience hiding. He went underground after the Feb. 26 confrontation with Martin at the Sanford, Fla., gated community of townhomes where Zimmerman lived.

Martin was unarmed and was walking back to the home of his father's fiancee when the neighborhood watch volunteer saw him, called police and began following him. A fight broke out - investigators say it is unknown who started it.

Zimmerman says Martin, who was visiting from Miami, attacked him. Zimmerman says he shot Martin in self-defense, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives broad legal protection to anyone who says they used deadly force because they feared death or great bodily harm.

Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks, sparking nationwide protests. Martin was black; Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru. A special prosecutor appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to investigate filed a second-degree murder charge earlier this month.

Martin's parents have a "heavy heart" now that Zimmerman has been released from jail, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the 17-year-old's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.

"They hope his freedom is temporary because the pain he has caused this family is permanent," Crump said Monday.

The shooting led to the local prosecutor recusing himself from the case, and the Sanford City Commission was to vote Monday to approve police Chief Bill Lee's permanent resignation. Lee, who had gotten a vote of "no confidence" from commissioners, stepped aside temporarily in March to let emotions cool.

As a condition of his release, Zimmerman cannot have any guns and must observe a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew. He surrendered his passport and will have to contact his monitors every three days.

Given his success at eluding searchers before his arrest, Baez said he is confident Zimmerman will keep out of public view.

"Based on his prior actions, he seems to be a very careful guy," Baez said. "Based on his prior ability to lay low, he will be fine. He is going to do exactly what is required of him."

___

Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report.

 


Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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