MIAMI, Fl—National Action Network’s Al Sharpton said South Bend Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg reached out to him for advice following the controversial police shooting of a black man in his Indiana municipality.
“He called me when it first happened and asked for advice. I told him that the real sticky issue to me is why the body camera was off. He needs to immediately deal with that and take this cop off the force if he cut it off himself. How did that happen? And he needs to reach out to the community and they are going to be angry and they should be. I don’t think you should prejudge it,” Sharpton told SiriusXM Patriot 125.
The family of Eric Jack Logan, filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the city and the officer involved in the shooting, accusing the officer Ryan O’Neill of using excessive deadly force on June 16.
Police claim Logan was breaking into vehicles and wielded a knife when officer O’Neill fatally shot him.
“You have an unarmed man that is dead. They say he had a knife. Where’s the knife? You cannot be transparent and then expect people to have faith. And I’ve talked to the widow a few times and some of our people have always stayed on top of this in South Bend,” Sharpton said.
Buttigieg may likely come across this issue when he takes to the debate stage in Miami Thursday night.
“He needs to use this as not only a learning experience for him but to address it tonight and say we have a police problem this country that We have not dealt with it,” Sharpton advised.
As a result of a contentious town hall to address the shooting in South Bend, he was unable to appear with his fellow Democratic candidates at a “Fish Fry” event hosted by House Majority Whip James Clyburn in South Carolina last weekend.
“If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist, or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street,” Buttigieg said, as he faced hecklers during the boisterous town hall.
The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 36 responded by posting a letter on its Facebook page blasting Buttigieg and claimed he is only looking to further his political career.
“For Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to make disparaging remarks such as ‘all police work and all American life take place in the shadow of racism,’ is divisive,” the FOP order executive board states in its letter. “Mayor Buttigieg’s focus on this incident is solely for his political gain and not for the health of the city he serves.”
Supporters of his campaign have long been concerned that he may have problems picking up black Democratic voters in the primary since his past firing of black police chief Darryl Boykins made national news. The recent police shooting has made the campaign effort to draw more black voters in even more difficult.