Black leaders are preparing a rally Saturday in South Bend, Indiana, seeking answers and transparency from Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s administration.
Black Live Matter Indiana and BlackTavists are organizing the rally, which is part of the growing backlash that has followed the June 16 shooting of Eric Logan, a black man in South Bend, and a June 23 shooting at Kelly’s Pub in the city.
“If you really believe in transparency, come and talk with us,” Jordan Geiger, a BlackTavists leader and member of Black Lives Matter Indiana, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Come and work with us. Stop trying to avoid us. Stop trying to take our ideas and bastardize them.”
The title of the event is “Black Women Speak: Policing in South Bend, Indiana.” Organizers planned the event after a Young Turks report surfaced, alleging South Bend police Sergeant Ryan O’Neill, who shot Logan, had a history of racial bias, particularly against black women.
Our city is hurting. But as we act on our shared commitment to justice and safety, together we will find healing. https://t.co/rZxartVOD7
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) June 20, 2019
Geiger, an event organizer, however, noted the event also serves a broader goal: to ask Buttigieg for collaboration.
“He lays out this list of a billion things he’s done for the black community, XYZ, people of color, but when you go and start asking hard questions, you soon find that a lot of it is smoke and mirrors,” Geiger said.
He said Buttigieg’s relationship with the black community is a “resume builder.”
Buttigieg’s administration administered implicit bias and cultural competency tests to police officers between 2017 and 2018, ABC 57 News reported.
“You said that you are a data-driven administration, but we’re asking you for the data, and you use the taxpayers’ dollars to administer those implicit bias tests,” Geiger said. “Why can’t you release the data?”
Buttigieg touted implicit bias testing as one of his accomplishments during the Democratic presidential debate on June 27. His administration has not shared all of the available data with black community leaders, according to Geiger.
“I know that some people imagine that a mayor sits up there in the office and decides who is in trouble, who’s fired and who goes and who goes down,” Buttigieg told “Nightline” in an interview that aired this week. “But we have a legal system here and it’s constraining.”
Geiger said Buttigieg’s administration has not been honest about the state of affairs in South Bend.
“They’ve used Pete’s machine, his celebrity, and his money, all the money he’s got in his campaign, they’ve used that to keep hold of the dialogue and continue to confuse the people. We’re calling it out, and we’re asking for transparency,” Geiger said.
“Dealing with police officers? That is a local issue,” he said. “That falls on you. That weight is on your hands.” (RELATED: Pete Buttigieg Says ‘The Black Church Is ‘Still Coming To Terms With LGBTQ Inclusion’)
Geiger said community relations were frayed before Buttigieg took office in 2012. He noted, however, that things have “gotten worse under Pete.”
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