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Union Criticizes California Chief for Wearing Uniform to Protest

December 15, 2014  | 

Richmond, Calif., Police Chief Chris Magnus, who gained nationwide attention for holding a sign reading "Black lives matter" at a peaceful protest in his city, was criticized by his department's rank-and-file Friday for doing so in uniform, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Richmond Police Officers Association said members were not upset by the message, but by the fact that Magnus was wearing his uniform when he attended a Tuesday demonstration on Macdonald Avenue. The message on his sign is one of the rallying cries that emerged after grand juries in Missouri and New York declined to indict white police officers for killing two unarmed black men.

The union said the chief's actions violated the state's Government Code, which states that "No officer or employee of a local agency shall participate in political activities of any kind while in uniform."

Magnus said Friday, "When did it become a political act to acknowledge that 'black lives matter' and show respect for the very real concerns of our minority communities? This should not be about 'us versus them.' It should be about finding ways to build bridges and address the schism that exists between many of our residents and police."

Alison Berry Wilkinson, an attorney for the Richmond police union, countered, "If his officers did the same thing, on either side of the issue, they would be disciplined."

Comments (13)

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13

eodk9trainer @ 12/15/2014 11:20 AM

"Magnus said Friday, "When did it become a political act to acknowledge that 'black lives matter' and show respect for the very real concerns of our minority communities?"

You can be certain this guy must really be a tool to make a comment like this.

XXXXX @ 12/15/2014 4:28 PM

Wait a minute chief you said, " this shouldn't be about us vs. them" . Yet, when I watch the news, people are chanting, " what do you want, DEAD COPS". "When do you want them, NOW". What side are you on? I'm a little confused. Should I as a LEO join hands with these individuals (black, white, brown, whatever) and be happy about it? My God, what happened to the leadership in this Country?

XXXXX @ 12/15/2014 4:50 PM

Let me remind you Chief, that if it wasn't for the quick thinking and actions taken by Officer Wilson, based on his training and experience, Officer Wilson would have been the one killed on that day if the "Gentle Giant" was successful in getting a hold of Wilson's gun. Ask yourself, if Darren Wilson was murdered, would you be standing on a corner, holding a sign that said, Officer's lives matter? Probably not!

Enough said @ 12/15/2014 5:17 PM

JJ @ 12/15/2014 5:24 PM

In law enforcement, it is always about them and us (law breaker and enforcer).

Tom Ret @ 12/15/2014 5:40 PM

As long as the predominantly black community put thugs like Michael Brown
up for hero worship while demonizing the police, especially if white or non black, for doing their job, there will always be a schism and rightfully so. Idiots
that go around with their hands up yelling don't shoot will make that schism wider. This chief is not helping bring groups together only showing what an idiot and political hack he is.

Capt. Crunch @ 12/15/2014 7:02 PM

The city of Richmond is a high crime city and now I can see why, the Richmond police dept. has a idiot for chief. What's next chief you going to sing Rap music in uniform ?

Ron Cole @ 12/15/2014 8:28 PM

I would really like to get into your blog etc, but I am too busy rubbing one of my New South Police Supervisors nose into Gun Control, and their hostage thingee

Ron Cole @ 12/15/2014 8:33 PM

Oops I slipped up and left out Wales. My New South Wales Police Supervisors. Don't get me started on Magnus, I am still fuming about that simple soul who thinks his presence meant anything to anybody, other than his political opportunities.

TheRookie @ 12/15/2014 8:34 PM

Chief Magnus is disgusting in his actions & words. If one of his Officers did the same thing to support someone he'd have them suspended, IA'd, & fired if possible. What a two-faced schlep.

kevCopAz @ 12/15/2014 8:57 PM

Enough said, any critical thinking LEO knows that Magnus is a self serving idiot. I concur that if any of his officers did the same thing on say the other side, or the Tea Party, or such causes they would be terminated in a heart beat, and rightfully so! We ALL, any rank, should never use our Uniform to protest anything at all, even when we are treated poorly by the agency we work for. Its unprofessional, unseemly and should never be tolerated, even from a "Chief". Even if he is a pathetic fool. That Uniform represents more then petty politics, either side. The Uniform represents fair impartial authority there to protect ALL sides of any issue. Once we prostitute the Uniform as that Chief did, we denigrate it, disrespect it and soil its meaning and all who wore it before us, wear it with us and will wear it in the future. Mangus, you should apologize and resign, if you have any credibility or morals or respect for your office. I wont hold my breath!

Enough Said @ 12/16/2014 3:43 AM

@KevCopAz If your above post was directed at me, you obviously didn't watch the attached video. I think you misinterpreted my post.

HRPufnstuf @ 12/16/2014 1:16 PM

I guess it's all right then for EVERY cop in that department to carry two signs in his patrol car: "White Lives Matter" and "Cops' Lives Matter." Then whenever a protest breaks out, they can hold up their signs, while the chief (note the non-capital letters) holds up his.

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