Buttigieg Accepts Blame for South Bend’s ‘Failed’ Police Reform

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South Bend, In., Mayor Pete Buttigieg took responsibility for the South Bend police department’s failed efforts to hire more minority officers and use body cameras, the Indianapolis Star reports. “The city is hurting and in pain,” Buttigieg said. “We were on track as a city to have fewer shootings than last year, and we can’t bring that number down without all of us doing something about it. We have tried but not succeeded, and I take full responsibility for that.” The Democratic presidential candidate spoke at an emotional town hall a week after the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his city. Eric Logan, 54, was killed after someone called police to report a suspicious person going through cars.

Buttigieg’s handling of the situation is under scrutiny as he tries to appeal to voters of color, key segments of the Democratic base. He said the issues raised at the town hall are part of a conversation that has to happen, as painful as it is. “This problem has to get solved in my lifetime,” he said. Buttigieg and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski answered questions from upset residents who shouted questions and concerns. “Get the people that are racists off the streets,” one resident told Buttigieg. “Reorganize the department and get those people off the streets now.” Sgt. Ryan O’Neill is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation. Buttigieg has faced criticism for his handling of other shootings involving police officers and for not having a police department that reflects the city’s diversity; in a city with a 40 percent black or Hispanic population, the department is almost 90 percent white. The town hall Sunday took place hours after shootings left one person dead and at least 10 others injured.

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