“Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism, whatever this particular incident teaches us, we will be left with the bigger problem of the fact that there is a wall of mistrust, put up one racist act at a time, not just what’s happened in the past, but from what’s happening around the country in the present.”
These are the words of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is also the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana. These words came after an officer-involved shooting.
The response of South Bend police? Potential mass-exodus from the SBPD.
“Morale around here has been terrible. We do nothing,” one police officer, a 20-year veteran of the force, told Fox News. “We call ourselves firemen, we sit around in parking lots until we’re called and then we go to the call, because if you say or do something wrong, then you get hung.”
Another officer said it couldn’t get any worse.
“At an all-time low,” another officer said of morale. “It’s been really demoralizing and hard to come to work lately.”
Officers made these statements to Fox News, requesting not to be identified in fear of retaliation by Buttigieg’s administration. They went on to say that they are aware of multiple officers who are considering handing in their badges or taking retirement if eligible, all in response to the mayor’s handling of the shooting.
“That’s the big discussion, is who’s staying and who’s going. I think you’re going to see a mass exodus, our administration is a joke,” one officer said.
All of these statements stem from the Mayor’s handling of the shooting death of Eric Logan. Logan was shot and killed by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill.
While Buttigieg claims he has not taken sides, he has certainly not challenged the narrative of angry protestors, that the shooting is connected to police racism.
At a presidential primary debate last month, Buttigieg described the shooting as “a black man …killed by a white officer” and said he “could walk through all of the steps we took, from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn’t save the life of Eric Logan. And when I look into his mother’s eyes, I have to face that fact and nothing that I say will bring him back.”
Even with these statements, it was a very specific comment that appears to have been the final straw.
In June, the Mayor said, “all police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism.”
Said one officer:
“To me, it’s like he kind of convicted Sgt. O’Neill before anything was even out, making comments like that. It wasn’t based on the facts of what happened, because we don’t even have all the facts of what happened. It’s like pouring gas on the fire.”
The court of Buttigieg opinion has already convicted, they say.
“I feel like we’re guilty until proven innocent,” said another.
In addressing the impact of the potential exodus, one officer warned that it will significantly impact the hiring of good, new officers to replace them:
“When you see the politics and the way police officers are treated by the media and by politicians, it’s like, why would anyone want to sign up to do this job right now?”
South Bend Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Harvey Mills said that he has spoken to five or six officers considering retiring or resigning because of the administration’s handling of the shooting.
Another officer told Fox News that he believes as many as 10 people will quit in the next year and said he has also considered stepping away.
“It’s very discouraging that something I’ve always wanted to do, that God called me to do, that I’m questioning that and wondering, thinking about not being a police officer strictly because of politics and things that are going on that are completely out of my control,” he said.
More about Buttigieg’s role in this, he has been seen holding the hand of Logan’s mother, and The Washington Post reported that he was in attendance at a “police accountability” march.
While doing the above, he has had little interaction with police during this entire situation. Mills indicated that the Mayor does not attend the annual fallen officer memorial services, although he recently sent over a dozen pizzas. Mills called the gesture “lame.”
“We have 240 officers that really need that support when every call we go to is already weighing on our minds and it’s a lot of stress and they don’t need the additional stress knowing the city administration doesn’t support them,” he said.
Where does this go? It is obvious that Buttigieg has no intention of supporting the law-enforcement community of South Bend. Why would we believe that as he continues to pursue his bid for the White House, that he would support the law-enforcement community at the national level?
The men and women of the SBPD are already considering turning in their badges, all because of his failure to have their backs. Should he manage to win a presidential election, what does that do to the perception of our close to 1 million law enforcement officers around the country at the local, state and federal levels?
And if he eventually withdraws from the presidential candidacy, what is he returning to? Does South Bend become an underserved community? Do the comments of one of the anonymous officers become reality? Current officers resign, leaving a huge hole in the department that cannot be filled as no new officers want to step into that environment?
Buttigieg needs to understand and be aware of the culture he is creating in South Bend. Even Touchdown Jesus cannot clean up the mess that Mayor Pete is creating.