Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg admitted Friday that “systemic racism” was part of the system in his city while he was mayor.
“There’s no question that systemic racism has penetrated to every level of our system and my city was not immune,” he said.
Buttigieg was pinned by debate moderator Linsey Davis, who noted that under his leadership as mayor, a black resident was four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white resident, which only grew after he took office.
Buttigieg argued that drug arrests in South Bend were lower than the national average and lower than the average of the state of Indiana for marijuana arrests, but he could not dodge the rise in arrests during his tenure.
Buttigieg defended his time as mayor, noting that his city targeted drug enforcement against gangs where there were also connections to murders.
“These things are all connected, but that’s the point, so are all the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects of systemic racism,” he said.
When Davis asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren if Buttigieg’s answer was sufficient, she replied, “No. You have to own up to the facts.”