Heading into his first presidential debate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg finds himself ensnared in a messy police shooting.
Over the weekend, Buttigieg returned to South Bend to face an angry group of protesters, including the family of a slain black man. Eric Logan, 54, was shot dead by a sergeant of the South Bend Police Department. Logan’s family is calling for the resignation of the sergeant and the department’s police chief, changes to body camera policies, new training and a review by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We all believe that everybody must be treated fairly,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “That racism has zero place in our police department or any police department. That we have no tolerance for racist behavior or racist actions and that in this particular case and in every case justice must be served.”
Protesters with the group Black Lives Matter repeatedly yelled demands at Buttigieg during his comments outside the police station, at a march and a town hall.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges at home and these issues aren’t easy,” Buttigieg told ABC News. “Part of how you earn your paycheck as mayor is to walk into no-win situations.”
Logan’s family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against South Bend. The sergeant has reportedly been placed on paid administrative leave. He shot Logan once in the abdomen and did not have his body camera on. The officer was responding to a call of a suspected car burglary and claimed to be threatened with a knife.
Meanwhile, Buttigieg is scheduled to take the stage Thursday in Miami on night two of the Democratic president debates. Included in his group are former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California. Harris, a black woman, served as California’s attorney general and built a respected career as a prosecutor.
Chris Meagher, spokesperson for the Buttigieg campaign, declined to go into specifics about the debate. In an email, Meagher said Buttigieg “looks forward to the debates, and as with anything, he’ll be prepared.”
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is hosting several events this week with some of the candidates. For a listing of events click here.