MPD's top cop talks about tensions with mayor

MPD's Top Cop Talks About Tensions With Mayor

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – He's been on the force for 23 years.  Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong plans to stay put, for now.

"I am not stepping down," said Armstrong during a news conference late Wednesday.

That was the rumor after tensions arose between him and Mayor A C Wharton, who characterized the department's current state Tuesday as "unacceptable."

"I did not offer my resignation to the mayor," said Armstrong.  "Nor did he entertain the idea of terminating me."

The mayor's frustrations followed news that a 15 year-old was shot and killed Monday night by an off duty officer.  The preliminary investigation reveals the officer may have been the target of a robbery attempt.  However, it's just the latest in a number of highly publicized incidents involving MPD.

"But I do not feel the entire department is in an unacceptable state," said Armstrong.

Armstrong said he and the mayor cleared the air during a lengthy meeting at city hall from which both left on good terms.

"Last year, I chose Director Armstrong to lead this department," Wharton said in a statement.  "I knew he was an excellent choice then and I know he is an excellent choice now."

"And moving forward it's gonna make his and mine working relationship a whole lot better moving forward," said Armstrong.

Armstrong does not seem to fully support the mayor's call for an outside review of the department.  But he's willing to embrace any changes.  That includes those that may fall on the 12 floor of 201 Poplar.

"I'm not in fear of losing my job," said Armstrong.  "I won't operate the MPD as if I'm in fear of losing my job."

Mayor Wharton also clarified in his statement that he stands by questions raised about MPD procedures.  However, he does not question the abilities of either Armstrong or the 2400 commissioned police officers.

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