EXCLUSIVE: Sanford Commissioners Who Voted In Support Of Police Chief To Face Recall

SANFORD, FL — Two Sanford city commissioners who, amidst widespread outrage at the police investigation of Trayvon Martin’s death, sided with police chief Bill Lee at a meeting last night, will soon face a recall, ThinkProgress has learned exclusively.

In an interview at the Goldsboro History Museum, which has become a hub for local grassroots activists, community leader Frances Oliver revealed the plans for the recall. Oliver said that Patty Mahany and Randy Jones, who voted in support of police chief Bill Lee Wednesday night, would be targeted for recall by a number of local community groups, including the NAACP.

Oliver also alleged that, while Mahany and Jones had met with Zimmerman’s family and neighborhood watch group, they had not called Martin’s family to express their condolences. She also accused them of “badmouthing” Trayvon Martin in the Sanford community. Watch it:


Florida recall procedures stipulate that city commissioners in Seminole county can be removed for malfeasance, neglect of duty, and incompetence, among other factors. While the process is elaborate and complicated, it begins with a recall petition getting approved for circulation by filing the requisite forms with 10 percent of the total required number of signatures needed. (The total required number of signatures is dependent upon a percentage of the number of registered voters in the area.)

The initial paperwork was delivered to Oliver as the interview concluded.

Oliver described the recall petition as the first component of a larger plan of action. If the police chief was not fired by March 26, the same coalition is planning to call for the ouster of the Sanford City Manager, Norton N. Bonaparte. (Lee announced he was “temporarily” stepping down this afternoon.) Absent Lee’s permanent removal, the groups are also planning a “boycott” of the Sanford police whereby residents would insist that the Seminole County police, not the Sanford PD, respond to any emergency situation.