South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg faced an angry crowd at a town hall at Washington High School on Sunday after a police shooting of a black man in the community on June 16.
Buttigieg explained at the beginning of the town hall that the process of firing a police officer was set into law depending on the facts of the investigation and the contractual obligations.
It did not take long before individuals in the crowd started shouting at Buttigieg, the police chief, and the moderator of the forum.
People in the town hall interrupted after the chief and the mayor tried to explain why the officer’s body cam was not turned on so that authorities could review the shooting.
Others in the audience heckled Buttigieg for campaigning days after the shooting.
“You gotta get back to South Carolina like you was yesterday?” one woman asked.
Things are still tense at this South Bend town hall with Mayor Buttigieg.
Moderator asks audience shouting questions to be respectful of the mayor’s schedule.
One man yells back:
“You gotta get back to South Carolina like you was yesterday?” pic.twitter.com/xzGq6i0iRx
— Aaron Franco (@AFrancoTX) June 23, 2019
Some in the crowd grew angry after he reminded them that neither he nor the police chief could fire a police officer and that the case had to be heard by the board of public safety. They grew angry when he could not explain why the police officer’s body camera was not on during the shooting.
“This sounds a little Laquan McDonald to me,” one woman said to Buttigieg, referring to a controversial case of a 17-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police officers in Chicago in 2014.
Buttigieg took responsibility for the incident but said that the facts of the case were still under investigation.
“The administration bought the technology, hired the officer, and wrote the policy,” he said. “So at the end of the day, I’m responsible.”
He defended his efforts to improve relations with the black community and law enforcement.
“I don’t want to seem defensive, but we’ve taken a lot of steps; they clearly haven’t been enough, but I cannot accept the suggestion that we did nothing,” he said.
Buttigieg appeared disappointed by the disruptions but maintained his cool as he carefully explained the path forward for the community.
“I acknowledge that we haven’t done enough,” he said.