Martin Family Responds to Firing of Police Chief

Trayvon Martin’s family is satisfied with Wednesday’s firing of Sanford (Fla.) Police Chief Bill Lee, according to the Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump.

Martin’s family learned of the firing while attending the 37th annual National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans. Martin’s parents and their legal team spoke exclusively with NABJ members during a closed-door press conference.

“The parents of Trayvon Martin respect the decision of the city manager,” Crump said. “They remain vigilant in getting justice for their son and the tragedy that claimed his life.”

Crump said the action is a step in the right direction in getting justice for Martin.

“Credibility is the issue here,” he said. “It has always been only George Zimmerman’s word and his version that Trayvon Martin attacked him.”

Lee drew nationwide criticism for his department’s handling of the case. His voluntary letter of resignation was rejected by the city council in April; until Wednesday, he had remained on administrative leave.

Despite the firing, the family said they are still hurting.

“Yes, we still suffer,” said Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. “We just had to suffer through a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and it hurts.”

A news release by Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said: “After much thoughtful discussion and deep consideration for the issues facing the city of Sanford, I have determined the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community. We need to move forward with a police chief that all the citizens of Sanford can support. I have come to this decision in light of the escalating divisiveness that has taken hold of the city.”

Meanwhile, former Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Chief Richard Myers has been serving as the town’s top cop in the interim.

The family is scheduled to speak again Thursday during a newsmaker plenary titled “Trayvon Martin: A Crime Story in the Digital Age.”