While still serving as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg missed seven of eight meetings that were intended to address police oversight, The Intercept reports.
According to the report, Buttigieg’s administration established the meetings via the Board of Public Safety in the wake of the shooting of Eric Logan, a 54-year-old black South Bend resident. However, the former mayor reportedly chose instead to prioritize his presidential campaign by traveling the country to attend speaking engagements, fundraisers, and campaign events.
“We’ve discussed police policy, training, procedures, etcetera, but Mayor Pete didn’t come to any of those meetings until we called him out in the national media,” said leader Jorden Giger, the leader of Black Lives Matter South Bend, who reportedly attended several of the community meetings.
Buttigieg campaign spokesperson Sean Savett released a statement to The Intercept, pointing out the fact that the 38-year-old politician returned to South Bend in the wake of Logan’s death. It also highlighted the steps he took to focus on improving police-community relations before he left office at the beginning of the year.
“Since then, Pete has taken a series of actions to help the South Bend community begin to heal — including supporting the creation of community action groups that were organized by the Board of Public Safety.”
Savett also pointed to “survey results” that purportedly show improving trust between law enforcement and the community. He claims the said results show that the Community Action Group Meetings were a “major factor” in this increase.
Buttigieg is now outlining steps that the city has already taken to improve community relations with the Police Department and steps taken concerning accountability and oversight of the department pic.twitter.com/rkdrqfil8B
— Max Lewis (@MaxLewisTV) July 8, 2019
The new accusations come amid numerous reports that shine an unflattering light on Buttigieg’s handling of alleged racism in South Bend. TYT Investigates revealed secret tapes that reportedly suggest the former mayor fired the city’s first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, due to pressure from his donors stemming from a plan devised by white police chiefs.
A subsequent report jointly published by The Young Turks and The Root claimed that Buttigieg ignored many lawsuits, letters, and complaints that pointed to racism in the city’s police force.
“Not only is there a mountain of evidence showing that the city’s black officers felt marginalized, but we could not find a single black complainant who said Buttigieg responded to their concerns personally or in writing,” The Root reported.
Buttigieg is currently sixth in the Democratic presidential primary polls with 7.4 percent average support, per RealClearPolitics. He recently placed second in a New Hampshire poll with 17 percent support. In first place was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who gained 29 percent support.