Buttigieg Faces Shout-downs, Heckles, Profanity at Testy Town Hall

  
Via:  texan1211  •  4 weeks ago  •  5 comments

Buttigieg Faces Shout-downs, Heckles, Profanity at Testy Town Hall

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


By Josh Lederman and Allan Smith

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was peppered with tough questions Sunday as he sat alongside the city's police chief at a town hall event following a white police officer shooting a black man to death one week prior.
Buttigieg was repeatedly shouted down and met with profanities and heckles as he spoke during the extremely tense and emotional town hall meeting at a local high school about last weekend's shooting.

The shooting took place when South Bend police responded to a report of a suspicious person going through cars at an apartment complex. When South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, engaged with the suspect, 53-year-old Eric Jack Logan, Logan allegedly approached the officer with a knife. The officer then fired at Logan, who was taken to a hospital and soon after was pronounced dead. The officer was treated for minor injuries.

It was later revealed that O'Neill's body camera was not running during the encounter and O’Neill failed to turn it on at any point. The incident is now under investigation by the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office, and O'Neill has been placed on administrative leave.

Buttigieg and South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski took questions for nearly two hours, with attendees pointedly asking about the failures of the police officer's body camera.
Buttigieg acknowledged that two of his initiatives — implementing body cameras for officers and diversifying the police force — have not yet been successful.
Asked about the failure of the body cameras, he said, "If anybody is trying to figure out who to hold responsible, the administration bought the technology, hired the officer and wrote the policy."

"So at the end of the day, I'm responsible," Buttigieg said.
But he also said, "I can't accept the suggestion that we haven't done anything."

Buttigieg also made news in announcing he will write to the Justice Department to say he agrees that a civil rights division review of the shooting should occur, adding that he can’t promise that DOJ will do one.
The town hall quickly descended into chaos, with attendees shouting in each other’s faces and at the local NAACP chapter president, who tried in vain to calm the crowd by imploring them to “walk in love one to another."
“You are lying,” one attendee shouted at Buttigieg. “We don’t trust you,” said another.
Buttigieg displayed a few flashes of frustration as he was repeatedly interrupted, admonishing crowd to let him finish speaking and return to their seats.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg experiences tense town hall over shooting
June 23, 201903:26

After the meeting broke up, a visibly emotional Buttigieg told reporters that it was difficult to see “people I’ve known for years anguished,” angry at the city and at him, adding, “and I’m angry, too.”
“Right now, I’m not really thinking about the politics of it,” Buttigieg said. “I hope people can see what it’s like for a city to face up to the demons that racism has unleashed.”
The incident comes amid already-high tensions in South Bend over policing. Earlier in Buttigieg's term, he demoted the city's first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, who had ordered the taping of phone calls of senior police officers he alleged made racist comments about him. Buttigieg said he demoted Boykins because he failed to disclose that the FBI was investigating him for allegedly inappropriately wiretapping subordinates. The demotion sparked a wave of criticism from the city's black community, and Boykins' name was brought up multiple times during the town hall.
Boykins sued the city after his 2012 demotion, alleging racial discrimination and saying the taping scandal was used as a pretext for his ouster. Meanwhile, the South Bend Common Council has pushed to make public the secretly recorded tapes of police officers allegedly making racist comments.

Josh Lederman

Josh Lederman is a national political reporter for NBC News.

Allan Smith

Allan Smith is a political reporter for NBC News.
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Texan1211
1  seeder  Texan1211    4 weeks ago

Gee, is the bloom off of the rose already?

 
 
 
Krishna
2  Krishna    4 weeks ago

He's done-- no nomination for him.

 
 
 
Texan1211
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Krishna @2    4 weeks ago

It might be fun to watch him squirm for a while before finally packing it in.

But we must always remember that he is running as a Democrat, and anything short of cozying up to Trump won't automatically disqualify him.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Krishna @2    4 weeks ago

Previously I thought that as a Rhodes Scholar and fluent in multiple languages he would have been an ideal candidate, but since then, he has made comments that absolutely lost any support I might have felt.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

The problem that Buttigieg has, and any mayor has, is that police officers have very strong unions. It is difficult to just "fire" someone Trump style. There are rules within police departments that officers must have their body cameras turned on, but all the officer has to say is that in all the excitement he forgot. 

There is an almost intractable problem with police forces and officers exceeding their authority. I have known numerous cops , mostly because one of my best friends was a cop and I had a nephew who was a cop, and I live in a neighborhood that is filled with cops and fireman because of city residency requirements. (The neighborhood I live in is on the outer limits of the city boundaries) . My next door neighbor is a cop. 

Many of the people attracted to police work are "alpha" personalities that want to enforce their will on other people. The most colloquial way to put it is they are on a "power trip". 

Combine that with the senseless violence they often see and the racism that permeates some of these places, and it is inevitable that there will be police abuses. 

I dont see any evidence that Buttigieg has done anything particularly wrong in trying to deal with it.  It is a bigger issue than one mid size city mayor can cure. 

 
 
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