With anger over the wanton slaying of Trayvon Martin still roiling African Americans in Sanford, Florida and across the nation, city leaders there have chosen a black man to head its police force.
Their choice is Cecil Smith, the deputy chief of the Elgin, Illinois, Police Department. Smith, in January, 2008, was rewarded with the deputy chief’s rank after steady progress up the departmental ladder. His upward journey began as a patrolman, twenty years earlier, in 1988.
Blackamericaweb.com was unable to reach Smith for comment.
Smith told The Orlando Sun Sentinel yesterday that he intended “to talk to my family” before making a decision to accept or reject the offer. Yet in The Sun Sentinel article, however, Smith hinted that he is leaning toward accepting it.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but I believe in sitting down with the members of the community and working on these issues,” Smith said.
Sanford has limped along without a police chief since Spring, 20012, when William Lee, then its chief, decided against arresting George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin. As a result of mounting protests, Lee was eventually fired.
Although the lead detective in the case strongly recommended arresting Zimmerman, Lee declined to do so, reportedly after meeting with the assailant’s father, a retired judge, at the Sanford Police headquarters. The elder Zimmerman allegedly called Lee soon after his son shot and killed the unarmed teen and asked him to meet him at the headquarters.
After an insistent drumbeat of city, state and national protests, Zimmerman was eventually arrested and is currently free on $1 million bail. His attorney, Mark O’Mara, yesterday appealed to the public for additional funds, saying that none are available for Zimmerman’s continued defense. Thus far, Zimmerman’s friends and supporters have contributed some $314,000 for his defense and living expenses.
“What we really need now,” said Norton Bonaparte, the Sanford City Manager–who recently interview Smith, its mayor, city manager and police in a discussion with The Sun Sentinel–“is a police chief who not only has the confidence of the police officers, but one who has an excellent rapport with the community.”
In a Wednesday afternoon interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com, Bonaparte said, “what I would hope is that (Smith) would do his very best in bridging the communications gap between the Sanford Police department and segments of the community.”
When asked if Smith, in the wake of the Travvon Martin killing, should be expected to cut through the anger and distrust among African Americans and, presumably, other residents, Bonaparte replied, “that would be my aspiration for Mr. Smith.”
But what if Smith cannot accomplish that goal? Will he be fired? Bonaparte was asked. “We’ll continue to work on it,” Bonaparte said.
For comment Wednesday afternoon, BlackAmericaWeb.com placed calls to a wide range of African American leaders, including Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Office, its Florida State Conference, the senior minister of Sanford’s St. James AME Church and the Vice President of the National Progressive Baptist Convention.
None were available for comment before this article was posted.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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