South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has temporarily halted all campaign-related appearances to address the unrest in his city.
On Friday night (June 21), Buttigieg attended a march in front of police headquarters with 100 demonstrators, including the family of 54-year-old Eric Logan, who was shot and killed by police recently, sparking much of the unrest in South Bend.
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 Sunday, following the events on Friday, 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.”
Buttigieg is under fire for not taking immediate action in the eyes of the community. Some people are even claiming that he’s siding with the South Bend Police Department over the matter.
One man from the audience even labeled Buttigieg a “traitor” during the event, which was broadcast live, while others interrupted Buttigieg numerous times as he tried to speak on stage.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “I do not have evidence that there has been discipline for racist behavior...”— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 22, 2019
Protester: “You running for president and you expect black people to vote for you?”
Buttigieg: “I’m not asking for your vote.”
Protester: “You ain’t gonna get it either.” pic.twitter.com/tK1Ys0Yvfc
“I’m mad because my brother died,” Tyree Bonds, Eric’s brother, said during dialog between officials and community members. “People are getting tired of you letting your officers do whatever they want to do.”
The officer who shot Logan reportedly did not turn on his body camera prior to the shooting taking place, leading to even more controversy.
“I have been here all my life, and you have not done a damn thing about me or my son or none of these people out here,” Eric’s mother, Shirley Newbill, said in demanding action. “It’s time for you to do something.”
Sunday’s town hall was held at Washington High School in South Bend. It was moderated by NAACP South Bend Chapter President Michael Patton and featured Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.
In the wake of the police-involved shooting, Mayor Pete said he’d send a letter to the Department of Justice to explain the case and its effects on South Bend. He said the police department had instituted civil rights and other training and helped institute body cameras, but acknowledged it hasn’t been enough.
“This isn’t enough, and I get it,” he said. “We set up body cameras, right? And they failed us when we needed them. If you are saying it’s not good enough, you’re right.”
See video of the town hall’s most confrontational moments below.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images