A former South Bend Common Council president is calling on Mayor Pete Buttigieg to step down in the wake of a series of shootings that have sent shockwaves through hometown and 2020 presidential campaign.
“Because of Pete’s selfishness, in my opinion, he is still the mayor,” Derek Dieter said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense. If you’re running for president, that’s a lot of pressure, you got to be on the road,” he added. “Everything that happens in South Bend shouldn’t be on your mind. You should be concentrating on running for president. So, I’m adamant that he should resign as mayor.”
Dieter’s comments come after a special prosecutor was requested Monday to investigate the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in a case that has inflamed tensions between the black community in South Bend.
St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter filed a petition asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the June 16 shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. It came a day after Buttigieg said he would write the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and notify Cotter that he’d like an independent investigator appointed.
Buttigieg, who has surged from obscurity to become a top-tier 2020 presidential candidate, left the campaign trail for several days to deal with fallout from the June 16 shooting. He faced criticism Sunday from angry residents of South Bend at an emotional town hall meeting, where some community members questioned whether he had done enough to reform the police department in his two terms as mayor. Buttigieg created controversy during his first term when he fired the city’s black police chief.
Dieter told the Free Beacon that while he has “no problem” with Buttigieg running for the White House, he believes that the 37-year-old shouldn’t seek the highest office in the land while serving as mayor.
“If you’re going to be running for president, that is a tremendous responsibility to do,” he stated. “And if you’ve made a decision to do that, I think at the end of the day, South Bend has to be in your rear view mirror.”
In addition to Dieter, South Bend has also taken aim at Buttigieg, accusing him of using Logan’s shooting “solely for his political gain.”
“Mayor Buttigieg’s comments have already and will continue to have a detrimental effect on local law enforcement officers and law enforcement officers nationwide,” the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 wrote in a statement shared to Facebook on Monday, adding that “his comments are driving a wedge between law enforcement officers and the community they took an oath to serve.”
“Mayor Buttigieg has in no way unified the community,” the statement continued. “Mayor Buttigieg continues to only focus on one incident and one family [and] … has left several others ostracized. The members of this lodge and the officers of the South Bend Police Department have been and continue to be committed to building trust between its officers and the community.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.