South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments
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South Bend, Indiana's Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) issued a scathing response to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, suggesting the 2020 presidential candidate should apologize after making racially-charged comments about a shooting involving a black man and white police officer in his hometown.
"Last week, while Mayor Buttigieg continued to run a presidential campaign in which he often falsely implies that South Bend police officers are racist, he refused to apologize," Harvey Mills, president of the FOP Lodge #36, said in a video posted online.
"Our officers are brave men and women who put their lives on the line for the community each day. We ask that instead of delivering pizza, the mayor deliver some respect for what police officers do and drop the politics."
The video, published on Friday, included pictures of the pizza boxes that Buttigieg sent to the police. "If this was a lame attempt to apologize to South Bend police officers, it didn't go over very well," Mills said.
Mills also accused Buttigieg of not considering the facts before commenting on the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by Sgt. Ryan O'Neill — whom Mills said was trying to defend himself.
Buttigieg, in a campaign email, previously wrote that the shooting highlighted that “all police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism, which hurts everyone and everything it touches. Historic racism, present-day racism, and generational racism – they all secrete a kind of poison into the bloodstream of this country.”
In response to the shooting, Buttigieg also supported the call for a special prosecutor in the investigation and said he would contact the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to request an independent investigation.
The FOP initially responded by deriding Buttigieg's comments as political opportunism and dividing the community. “Mayor Buttigieg’s comments have already and will continue to have a detrimental effect on local law enforcement offices and law enforcement officers nationwide," the organization said.
"Mayor Buttigieg’s comments and actions are driving a wedge between law enforcement officers and the community they took an oath to serve.”
During Friday's video, Mills defended O'Neill, claiming that he shot Logan only after the latter "charged at him and ignored repeated commands to drop" an eight-inch hunting knife.
According to WSBT, Buttigieg's campaign said it had been trying to contact the FOP since the date of the shooting. "The Mayor and members of our office have reached out to the FOP multiple times since June 16 and have not received a response," the campaign reportedly said.
A press release noted that the FOP also called on Buttigieg show respect by donating money to a fundraising page set up "help defend Sgt O’Neill against the lawsuit and despicable attacks on his reputation."
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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