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The aftershocks of Trayvon Martin’s killing continued to reverberate Thursday from Sanford to South Florida, as the embattled police chief and state attorney overseeing the investigation stepped down hours after more than 1,000 Miami-Dade high school students staged a walkout to protest the lack of criminal charges in the case.

The Sanford Police Department is under fire for its handling of the investigation and for accepting the shooter’s self-defense claim. Accused of lying to reporters and Trayvon’s parents, protecting the shooter and ignoring key witnesses, Lee decided to step aside Thursday. His decision came a day after a 3-2 Sanford city commission vote of “no confidence” in the chief.

“As a former homicide investigator, career law enforcement officer and a father, I am keenly aware of the emotions associated with the tragic death of a child,” Lee said at a brief press conference. “While I stand by the Sanford Police Department, its personnel and the investigation that was conducted in regards to the Trayvon Martin case, it is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process…. I do this in the hopes of restoring some semblance of calm to the city, which has been in turmoil for several weeks.”

Two captains will run the department until an interim chief is chosen, City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. said. It was unclear whether Lee planned to return to the $102,000-a-year post.

Source: David Ovalle and Frances Robles for Miami Herald.

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