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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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