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Birmingham Appoints First Black Police Chief

June 20, 1992

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ The first black police chief has been appointed in Birmingham, the state’s largest city and a focal point of the 1960s civil rights demonstrations.

Johnnie Johnson, 50, was selected Tuesday by Mayor Richard Arrington, the city’s first black mayor.

″I stand for making blacks’ lives better, but I’ll be the chief of the whole city,″ said Johnson. The choice was approved by the county personnel board Friday.

Johnson joined the department in 1966 as the second black hired.

He became acting chief in August after Arthur Deutcsh was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,000 for records tampering involving the 1990 arrest of Arrington’s daughter. Deutcsh’s case is on appeal but he has retired on disability.

Birmingham gained national attention in the 1960s when then-Police Commissioner Eugene ″Bull″ Connor directed that fire hoses and dogs be used to halt a civil rights march on City Hall.