Memphis Police Union Voices Support For Police Director
(Memphis) The Memphis Police Association held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in support of Police Director Toney Armstrong.
The press conference was held after Mayor A C Wharton’s tough words about the police department after a 15-year-old was shot and killed by a Memphis police officer.
The Memphis Police Department said it appears the officer was the victim of a robbery.
Union President Michael Williams made it clear his group supports Armstrong but is concerned about Mayor Wharton, “He (Director Armstrong) has not been allowed to perform his duties without interference by the city administration. You did not see this interference when the previous Director was here.”
Williams also said none of the recent MPD officers who have been in trouble were hired by Armstrong.
Williams said Mayor A C Wharton was wrong Tuesday by questioning the Memphis Police Department as a whole and specifically Director Armstrong.
Williams also said the Mayor needs to answer for the budget cuts and layoffs that have resulted in poor morale inside the department.
Late this afternoon, Mayor Wharton released a statement saying, ““I have every confidence in Director Toney Armstrong to keep our streets safe, to continue decreasing crime rates in Memphis, and to get the job done. With 23 years on the force, he is a proven and exceptional leader and has my full support.”
Complete Press Release:
MAYOR, DIRECTOR MEET ON SHOOTING INVESTIGATION
MPD Director Toney Armstrong gave Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. an update this afternoon on the investigation into Monday’s fatal shooting of Justin Thompson.
Off-duty officer Terrance Shaw was the apparent victim of a robbery attempt that concluded in the shooting death of the 15-year-old Thompson. Shaw has been on the force since November 2006.
As part of the TBI investigation, they are reviewing all evidence in the case, including whether there was any prior communications between the officer and the teenager.
Acknowledging rumors about his dissatisfaction with the situation, the Mayor also expressed his continued faith in Director Armstrong and the Memphis Police Department:
“I have every confidence in Director Toney Armstrong to keep our streets safe, to continue decreasing crime rates in Memphis, and to get the job done. With 23 years on the force, he is a proven and exceptional leader and has my full support,” the Mayor said.
“Last year, I chose Director Armstrong to lead this department. I knew he was an excellent choice then and I know he is an excellent choice now.”
The Mayor said that although he stands by the questions he raised about police department procedures, he was not questioning the ability of Director Armstrong or the commissioned officers who serve and protect this community.
“It was the Director who first referred this matter to the TBI, a move I wholeheartedly agree with, and I thank him for his prompt attention to this very serious situation,” Mayor Wharton said.