Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus has sparked controversy for joining peaceful protesters in his city and holding a sign reading “Black lives matter” while dressed in his police uniform.
Some of his brothers in blue have taken issue with the message it sends, but the union has a bigger problem with the legality of his actions.
According to Richmond Police Officers Association, he is in violation of the state’s Government Code that reads: “No officer or employee of a local agency shall participate in political activities of any kind while in uniform.”
Union attorney Alison Berry Wilkinson told SFGate Friday, “Police chiefs are not above the law. While many may admire the chief for proactively engaging with the community on one of the most significant political issues of the day, by doing so in uniform he violated the very laws he is sworn to uphold.”
Magnus responded to the criticism but ignored the legal issue, according to SFGate.
“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,'” he said. “It should be about finding ways to build bridges and address the schism that exists between many of our residents and police.”
The Richmond Police Department had this to say on its Facebook page:
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