South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg helmed a contentious town hall meeting Sunday as he’s struggled to deal with the outcry after a black man was shot by white police officers.
According to Politico, Buttigieg conceded that “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.”
Sgt. Ryan O’Neill fatally shot Eric Logan after a call came in about someone rifling through the contents of parked cars. Prosecutors say Logan was wielding a knife, but confirmation is difficult since O’Neill never turned on his body camera, according to NBC.
The town hall reportedly stretched for two hours, with Buttigieg occasionally getting frustrated as those in the crowd shouted over his answers or yelled accusations. One audience member cried that Buttigieg was “lying”; another yelled “we don’t trust you.”
This isn’t the first time Buttigieg has struggled to navigate the racial dynamics of law enforcement in his hometown. At the beginning of his term, he demoted the city’s first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, for not disclosing that he was the subject of an FBI investigation for tapping the phones of senior officers he claimed were making racist comments about him. Boykins later sued, saying that the taping issue was used as pretext for a firing based in racism.
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