Courtesy of the City of Little Rock
Little Rock Chief of Police Kenton Buckner
An Arkansas police chief who clashed with black officers in his hometown has withdrawn his name from consideration for the same job in Charleston.
Kenton Buckner, who has served as police chief in Little Rock since 2014, announced his intention to drop out of the race and stay in Little Rock in a statement released on Monday.
"In the nearly one month since my visit to Charleston, I have received daily local inquiries concerning my status as the Little Rock Chief of Police," Buckner said. "I realize this uncertainty can impact the effectiveness of my leadership as well as the future of the Little Rock Police Department. Alleviating that ambiguity is one of the reasons I believe that it is now the time to withdraw from the process and remove uncertainty regarding LRPD leadership."
Buckner was accused of discrimination in a letter sent to the Little Rock City Board by the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association.
In the letter, the group asks the board "to conduct an independent investigation into the discrimination, inequities, and disparaging treatment of minority officers and supervisors, under the command of Chief Kenton Buckner."
Buckner also came under scrutiny after his department-issued gun was found on the lap of a 20-year-old man when authorities responded to a call of suspicious activity outside of a jewelry store.
In a statement on Feb. 5, Charlotte Lansinger of the Police Executive Research Forum said that the firm hired by the city to find candidates was "aware" of Buckner's problematic past.
"We do not believe these issues should prevent Chief Buckner from being considered for the City of Charleston Police Chief position," she said.
Buckner's withdrawal leaves one black candidate, current interim police chief Jerome Taylor, still in the running for the position. Taylor has worked for CPD since 1972 and has served as interim police chief since former police chief Greg Mullen retired in June.