Local residents and community leaders, particularly in the black community, have said they have absolutely no faith in the Sanford police or Lee, who came into office less than a year ago after another scandal brought down the previous chief of police.
Chief Lee's predecessor, Brian Tooley, was forced from office last year amid a scandal involving a lieutenant's son who was captured on video attacking a homeless black man. As the homeless man lay bleeding on the ground, police officers reportedly drove his attacker from the scene. The lieutenant's son, Justin Collison, 21, was not arrested at the time. A month later he turned himself in after video surfaced on Youtube.
For years the local NAACP and others have claimed that the police protected their own and routinely harassed and embarrassed blacks. And in the last few years, some Sanford officers have displayed questionable behavior: a couple have been arrested for taking bribes and kickbacks, and one was fired last summer for falsely accusing a suspect of attempted murder. In one case, the NAACP said that an officer had refused to investigate the rape of a black woman until the organization put pressure on the department.