Mayor Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After White Police Officer Kills Black Man In South Bend
Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was criticized by angry black citizens at a local town hall in South Bend a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city.
At a town hall on Sunday, the mayor faced emotional constituents who attacked him for his failure to reform the police system. “Get the people that are racist off the streets,” one woman in the audience said. “Reorganize your department. You can do that by Friday.”
Buttigieg told his constituents that he would be calling for an outside investigation into the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. The mayor announced that he would be sending a letter to the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, as well as notifying the local prosecutor that he would like an independent investigator to look into the shooting.
Buttigieg acknowledged that his administration had failed on two of its key police department reform initiatives. “The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that,” the mayor said. Prosecutors had revealed that Logan’s shooting was not recorded by O’Neill’s body camera, which was turned off at the time.
According to those investigating the incident, the shooting occurred after O’Neill responded to a call about a suspicious individual rifling through vehicles. O’Neill spotted Logan inside a car and confronted him. When the black man exited the car holding a large knife above his head, O’Neill fired two shots, one of which fatally wounded Logan.
Buttigieg, who has surged from anonymity to become a serious contender in the 2020 presidential race, has been plagued by his inability to connect with minority voters. The white mayor has received criticism from his constituents for his failure to reform the police system, which is 90% white in a city that is a quarter black. Buttigieg has had previous issues with race in the justice system, including his firing of the city’s first black police chief. He also faced a backlash over his handling of police misconduct issues, including an officer who violated civil rights laws twice but was not fired.