Ex-Sanford police chief speaks out after George Zimmerman verdict

Former Police Chief Bill Lee discusses how trial into Trayvon Martin's death validated investigation

Published On: Jul 14 2013 08:46:39 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 15 2013 06:32:20 AM EDT
SANFORD, Fla. -

Former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee spoke out on Sunday, less than 24 hours after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin's death.

Martin, 17, was shot and killed by 29-year-old Zimmerman in a Sanford gated community in February 2012. The lack of an immediate arrest caused national outcry and led to the firing of Lee in June 2012.

Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder on Saturday by a six-person jury after nearly 15 hours of deliberations.

“From the beginning, the Sanford Police Department launched a proper and active investigation to determine what happened the night of the shooting that led to the tragic death of Trayvon Martin," Lee wrote in a prepared statement. "Testimony in this case has validated the in-depth investigation that was activated, but disrupted by external and internal political pressures. I am thankful that the case was heard in a court of law where many misrepresentations and mischaracterizations regarding the work performed by Sanford police have been corrected.”

Lee told Local 6 in an exclusive interview earlier this week why he didn't arrest Zimmerman in Martin's death and how he thinks an immediate arrest would have allowed him to keep his job.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.