Black Residents Of South Bend Unload On Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Written by Ann Brown
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., left, waits to speak at an SEIU event before the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention in San Francisco, Saturday, June 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

On June 16 Eric Logan, 54, was shot and killed by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill in South Bend, Indiana. Police allege Logan was breaking into cars and then approached Officer O’Neill with a knife.

O’Neill fired twice, one hitting Logan, the other hitting a car door. The officer’s body camera did not record the shooting.

“Logan’s family disputed claims the officer was threatened with a knife by Logan and accused the officer of shooting him because of his race, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family against O’Neill and the city,” ABC News reported.

“The misconduct was objectively unreasonable and undertaken with willfulness and reckless indifference to the rights of others,” the lawsuit stated. “Defendant O’Neill violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights intentionally subjecting him to unlawful, unequal treatment on the basis of his race.”

This incident, among other things, has caused a major rift between the city’s Black community and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who happens to be running for president.

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Logan’s mother publicly chastised Buttigieg. “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,” Shirley Newbill told Buttigieg. “It’s time for you to do something.”

And when Buttigieg recently held a town hall in South Bend it was near chaos when the candidate tried to respond to community concerns over the shooting. Buttigieg promised to ask the Justice Department to review the case and for an independent prosecutor to decide whether to prosecute.

“We’ve taken a lot of steps, but they clearly haven’t been enough,” said Buttigieg.

“We don’t trust you!” a woman hollered at the mayor.

Buttigieg has been trying hard to win over the Black vote nationally, even though he hasn’t even convinced Black voters in his home state.

“Buttigieg’s lack of popularity among Black voters nationally — a crucial demographic for winning the Democratic primary and then the presidency – was already one of his biggest weaknesses in a contest dominated by racial justice issues like never before. Buttigieg had recently been laying the groundwork to win over some of those skeptical voters in states such as South Carolina,” Reuters reported.

Buttigieg sees some hope on the national field.

“But at home, Buttigieg is a much more common figure in American politics: a white politician struggling to connect with his Black constituents, whose lives are plagued by grinding poverty and violence that their wunderkind mayor has been unable to repair after seven years in office,” Reuters reported.

“You might as well just withdraw your name from the presidential race,” said a woman at the town hall. “His presidential campaign is over … I believe that today ended his campaign.”