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Pete Buttigieg faces backlash from African-Americans over police shooting

Patrick Kelleher June 24, 2019
Pete Buttigieg faces backlash from African-Americans over police shooting

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (Joe Skipper/Getty)

Openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is facing backlash from African-Americans in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, after a black man was shot dead by a white police officer.

Tensions have been rising in South Bend, where Buttigieg is Mayor, since Eric J. Logan was shot dead on June 16. The police officer failed to capture the altercation with his body camera.

Buttigieg—who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential race—addressed a predominantly African-American audience at a town-hall style meeting yesterday (June 23) over the shooting.

Pete Buttigieg faced heckling over the shooting of a black man by a police officer

The audience heckled and booed Buttigieg and asked him pointed questions about the response to the shooting, according to The New York Times.

When Buttigieg noted that the city has a requirement that police officers use their body cameras, a member of the audience shouted: “Why haven’t you been enforcing it, then?”

Later, Buttigieg defended his record in engaging with locals on policing issues, which prompted somebody to call out from the audience: “We don’t trust you.”

Pete Buttigieg faces backlash from African-Americans over police shooting
Pete Buttigieg (Sean Rayford/Getty)

He was also called a “liar” by an audience member during the heated and tense appearance, and he struggled to speak over regular interruptions, the Washington Post reports.

Buttigieg was ‘disappointed’ the police officer was not wearing his body camera

During the tense meeting, Buttigieg acknowledged that he had failed to make the police force in the city more diverse. He also said he was disappointed that the police officer who shot Logan had not been wearing a body camera.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Buttigieg said he could “sense the pain” in the room.

“This problem has to get solved in my lifetime.”

– Pete Buttigieg

“Not only around this incident, but around our history,” he continued. “Not only our history as a city, but what’s happening everywhere when it comes to the disempowerment that so many black Americans have felt in relation to the police, and obviously that was expressed in a lot of ways.”

He also said that he hopes African-Americans will take away that the city “is facing this, not running away from it.”

Pete Buttigieg has been polling poorly among African-American voters

“This problem has to get solved in my lifetime. I don’t know of a person or a city that has solved it, but I know that if we do not solve it in my lifetime, it will sink America.”

The uproar could impact on Buttigieg’s campaign to become the next president of the United States. He was already polling extremely poorly among African-Americans, according to The New York Times.

In a letter sent to campaign supporters today (June 24), Buttigieg said: “I feel overwhelmed and heartened by the number of people—supporters and critics—who have reached out and made it clear over the past week that they want to join hands and face these problems together.”

More: african american, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, police brutality, shooting, South Bend

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