Community Bids Farewell to Police Chief Magnus, Mayor’s Chief of Staff Cheung


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The walls of Salute E Vita Ristorante were packed Tuesday night with dozens of community members — from former mayors and councilmembers, to nonprofit leaders and friends — who gathered to celebrate the legacies and bid farewell to outgoing Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus and his husband, Terrance Cheung, who is the outgoing Chief of Staff for Mayor Tom Butt. 

The evening was a moment to reflect on the impact the two civic leaders had on their community before they head to Tucson, Arizona, where Magnus will take the reins as Chief of Police later this month. 

“It feels a little surreal,” Magnus confessed amid the chatter of the restaurant. 

When asked how it feels for Richmond’s power couple to be leaving their home of a decade, the outgoing chief laughed and said, “Well, I don’t know about that, but I can say that I’m excited about what’s ahead for us.”

As the light from outside faded and the sun set behind the Richmond Marina, a slideshow inside flashed photos of notable moments in both Cheung’s and Magnus’ careers, which often crossed paths. Images of the couple in attendance at the opening of the Family Justice Center last year reminded those in attendance about the pivotal role both played in supporting vital community resources.

“I realize that it’s going to be very hard to replicate the vision and accomplishment that Chris Magnus brought to the Richmond Police Department,” Captain Mark Gagan reflected Tuesday evening. 

“From the first day, he showed a work ethic and commitment to the community that we all understood but couldn’t have initiated,” Gagan elaborated. “But I don’t worry about him leaving. I know that we’ve all grabbed on to Magnus’ ideas and will continue to implement them in the city.”

Cheung, who worked for several years in the office of Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who represents Richmond, became the Richmond Mayor’s Chief of Staff a year ago. 

“This has been a tremendous experience,” Cheung said Tuesday evening. “I couldn’t have asked for a better community to be a part of and work in.”

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The crowd Tuesday was nostalgic on the impact both Cheung and Magnus had on their city. 

“Terrance cares about people,” said Supervisor Gioia. Cheung was pivotal in securing funding and support for the new family justice center in the city, along with pushing for services for the county’s reentry population. 

Over Magnus’ tenure, Richmond went from one of the most dangerous cities in the country to a model for community policing.  

“We needed to make people understand that violence is a public health problem, and Chris understood that,” said former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, who pushed for his hiring ten years ago.

Anderson sees the recent uptick in crime as cyclical, and that persistent community engagement and adequate funding for the Richmond Police Department will help lower future crime rates. 

“Magnus has been here for 10 years, but we’ve seen way more than 10 years of progress with him.”

Magnus’ and Cheung’s are now in their final days on the job in Richmond. Assistant Chief of Police Allwyn Brown will take the post of Interim Chief while the Richmond City Manager searches for a longterm replacement, and David Gray, currently the Mayor’s Director of Projects and Programs, will take over for Cheung. 

In his closing remarks to the crowd, Magnus reflected on the work ahead for the community he and Cheung are leaving behind.

“We cannot take our foot off the gas, and it’s going to take the investment of everybody,” Magnus said. “We can’t lose sight of the goal: having a community that is safe, engaged, and moving forward.”

 

Photo:Ellen Seskin for East Bay Express

Showing 5 reactions

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  • commented 2016-01-11 20:27:12 -0800
    I am not personally knowledgeable about this mayor. I understand that he brought some welcome changes to Richmond, and I have read some articles about him. However, when it comes to the police, these mayors cave in for whatever reason. The police work for him and in turn for the people of Richmond. The killing of Pedie Perez was an outrageous act. The cop showed his outright stupidity and total lack of judgement and concern about a young life. A thorough investigation needs to take place, and this cop needs to go somewhere else and do some other kind of work. We certainly don’t want to know he’s been hired by another police agency.
  • commented 2016-01-10 02:12:23 -0800
    Community 200 or less. Liars.
  • commented 2016-01-09 18:09:22 -0800
    Such, an liar, corrupt way higher then his rose. Take corrupt George Hill, changing police reports and lots of fake names, huh Aaron Mandell, he keeps getting cases. They interview me. Chief, had cases well. Liars, and deeply corrupt! We, will leave mismanagement of all money. Tim Jones, been having an ball with the city corrupt management. Greed.
  • commented 2016-01-09 15:36:53 -0800
    There is an ELEPHANT in the room…and by that, I’m referring the cover-up of the murder of our 24 year old Grandson PEDIE PEREZ ….who did not have a weapon of any kind, who was not committing any kind of a crime, other than being very intoxicated, in a public place, but he was not a threat to anyone or anything…when Richmond Police Officer Wallace Jensen, who was not wearing his assigned Equipment-Belt, with NON-LETHAL means to subdue, and he left his K-9 work-partner, locked in the car, when he stopped by Uncle Sam’s Liquor & Deli store ~ to do a Loitering-Check…and in less than 15 minutes, he made the decision that PEDIE’S LIFE DID NOT MATTER and he shot PEDIE 3 X to the chest, and then he LIED, ‘claiming’ that PEDIE had tried to get his Gun. There has not been an honest investigation done by anyone in the Richmond Police Department and the hierarchy …and Jensen’s ‘claim’, has been refuted by forensic science, as there is no DNA matching PEDIE, to be found on the Holster, the Gun, the Belt, or anywhere else. Those LIES are still out there, in print…and it makes one wonder, at what point do those LIES become SLANDER? Where is the accountability? ….where is the promised transparency? The ‘drop in crime’, in the City of Richmond clearly coincides with the installation of ‘Shot-Spotter’. Chief Chris Magnus is not as pure, nor as ‘community oriented’ as a very large number of people believe he is. His participation in the cover-up of PEDIE’S murder, renders him no better than his subordinate who did the killing.
  • commented 2016-01-07 11:47:55 -0800
    The Chief has done a great deal for Richmond, especially for MONTEREY PINES APARTMENTS,
    We where having shootings here on a daily bases when I first moved here in 2009, you couldn’t get out of your car without fearing you might get shot. That ask changed when Chief Magnus started having patrols coming thur in the day, middle of the day, afternoon and nights, He started conning to our National nights out, you saw him dancing with the kids, and then I saw him holding a sign
    BLACK LIVES MATTER” that’s what showed me he cared for the people.
    Chief, Magnus.
    You will be GREATLY MISSED
    Thank you for what you did while you were here.
    Your Friend
    Roberta Parede
    Monterey Pines
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