Black Lives Matter participation hurts Chief Magnus’ job prospects in Tucson

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Black Lives Matter image hurts Chief Magnus' job prospects in Tucson
A local public defender commended police Chief Chris Magnus on his efforts to improve relations between police and residents, but says he'll need more than this viral image to bridge the divide.

Although a Tucson citizen panel last week voted in favor of hiring Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus to become the Arizona city’s next top cop, members of Tucson’s police union overwhelmingly voted for a different candidate, citing discomfort with Magnus’ participation in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Magnus received just three of 70 votes cast by members of the Tucson Police Officers Association, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Dallas Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, on the other hand, received 50 votes of support from Tucson cops.

According to the Daily Star, Magnus’ participation in the Black Lives Matter protest was characterized as a negative quality. If you recall, Richmond’s own police union wasn’t pleased with Magnus’ involvement, either.

The police chief famously held a Black Lives Matter sign alongside protesters at a peaceful Richmond demonstration. When two members of the Tucson police union visited Richmond to interview Magnus, they noticed a cartoon on the wall of his office depicting that moment.

“I did not get close enough to read what it said, but the fact that it was hanging prominently on his wall spoke volumes to me as to the pride he has with being involved with this movement,” Tucson union VP Brad Pelton said in a memo to his members, according to the Daily Star.

The Daily Star listed what the Tucson police union described as Magnus’ positives and negatives:

Negatives: “Inconsistent discipline, lack of direction, a promotion process that is based on a non-ranked list selection, follows the political wind, participated in a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest, brought in a civilian to replace the commander in their internal affairs division, low morale, seen as disingenuous and has been the focus of harassment and discrimination complaints.”

Positives: “Helped reduced crime, increased police staffing, increased technology, increased police officer compensation and improved community relations.”

Last week, however, 11 of 14 members on the Citizen Police Chief Appointment Advisory Committee preferred Magnus.

On Monday, the union reps discussed their preferences with Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega, who must decide on a final candidate to present before Tucson City Council.

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