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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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