South Bend, Ind., Mayor (D) on Tuesday emphasized the need for police officers to be pro-racial justice amid rising tensions in his home city over a police shooting of a black man.
“One of the things that I really need to continue conveying to our police officers is that it is not anti-police to be pro-racial justice,” Buttigieg said in Chicago while speaking to press at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention Business Breakfast.
“On the contrary, we absolutely can and absolutely must be both,” he continued. “You could argue that no one has a greater role to play when it comes to community trust and policing than the police themselves.”
Buttigieg has struggled to gain traction among black voters, a key demographic in the Democratic primary electorate, and he has faced backlash from his constituents for his response to the police shooting of Eric Logan last month.
Buttigieg took time off from the presidential campaign trail to deal with the fallout.
Tensions erupted at a town hall last month after the shooting when black residents called out Buttigieg and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski for what they said was South Bend’s systemic failure to deal with the city’s law enforcement.
The mayor was also under a microscope for his handling of the firing of South Bend’s black former police chief and his move not to publicly release five tapes critics say could include evidence of racist language being used by police officers.