The union representing police officers serving South Bend, Indiana, has released a letter accusing the city’s mayor, Pete Buttigieg, of exploiting an officer-involved fatal shooting “solely for his political gain.” Buttigieg is a Democratic presidential candidate, and recently left the campaign trail to address the incident in his hometown.
What are the details?
Fox News reported that Buttigieg — who goes by “Mayor Pete” — responded to the shooting of a black man by a white police officer by calling for a special prosecutor to be assigned to investigate, and vowing to request an independent probe by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
In a press release Monday night, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 noted that an investigation was already being handled by an independent entity “with no involvement from the South Bend Police officers who serve with them,” before launching into a sharp rebuke of Mayor Pete’s handling of the issue.
“For Mayor and Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg to make disparaging remarks such as ‘All Police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism’ is divisive,” the letter read. “Mayor Buttigieg’s focus on this incident is solely for his political gain and not the health of the city he serves.”
The FOP further accused Buttigieg of ignoring other recent tragedies in his city, by not “comment[ing] on the largest mass shooting in the recent history of South Bend or on one juvenile killing another earlier in the week.”
The letter outlined several ways the South Bend Police Department has worked to build trust and relationships in the community, citing a litany of local causes supported by officers and members of the union lodge.
The release concluded by calling for unity while taking a parting shot at Buttigieg, saying, “In a short time, Mayor Buttigieg will no longer be the leader of this great city. However, the South Bend Police Department and the residents of South Bend will still be here. If we are to grow and change for the better, it will require us to set political agendas aside and simply come together.”
This isn’t the first time Buttigieg has been accused of using the shooting incident for his political advantage. Last week, he was met with frustration by Black Lives Matter activists when he showed up at a protest in South Bend, where one woman asked him, “Are you really here because you care about blacks, or are you just here because you want to be the president?”