The South Bend, Indiana police union is outraged after the city’s mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg requested to open an independent investigation over the death of 54-year-old Eric Logan, who was shot and killed by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill earlier this month.
The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 claimed Buttigieg is making decisions on an officer-involved fatal shooting “solely for his political gain.”
“Mayor Buttigieg’s comments have already and will continue to have a detrimental effect on local law enforcement offices and law enforcement officers nationwide,” a statement from the organization read. “Mayor Buttigieg’s comments and actions are driving a wedge between law enforcement officers and the community they took an oath to serve.”
Buttigieg promised to community members he’d contact the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to request an independent investigation.
The police union cited in their statement that Bittigieg is biased against law enforcement because of comments he made in an email he sent to supporters, which read: “all police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism, which hurts everyone and everything it touches. Historic racism, present-day racism, and generational racism – they all secrete a kind of poison into the bloodstream of this country.”
The South Bend police union isn’t the only group angry at their mayor. After Logan was reportedly killed by police, there was outrage in the community and a heated confrontation with Buttigieg after he attended a march in front of police headquarters with 100 demonstrators on June 21.
One protester at the demonstration, according to the South Bend Tribune, suggested that Black people wouldn’t vote for Buttigieg. “You're running for president and you want Black people to vote for you? That's not going to happen,” the demonstrator said during the march.
On the following Sunday, Buttigieg held a town hall to address constituents' concerns over rising tension between members of the community and the local police department. He described the current relationship between law enforcement and the community as “very challenging.”