Mayor Petes Policing Problem
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Mayor Pete joined that local black pastor Reverend Williams, because he wanted to talk about the shooting of Eric Logan. A fifty four year old black man who killed by south bend. Police on Father's Day. We have with us mayor Pete Buddha. Judge here today is running two campaigns. One is for the presidency of the United States of America, and the other is damaged control. Welcome there. And when mayor Pete arrives in studio last week to do this interview, the Reverend sort of reads, this two to three minutes statement about how black Americans have sort of endured police violence for months and months and years, and really hold people to judges feet to the fire on this issue. The question at live the today for our listeners is, why are you here? I'm here because this is my home. And if all, you know about Buddha, judge is that he has a funny name, and he's running for president the strong reactions. He's getting in his hometown. After this police shooting might surprise you last week would judge temporarily stopped his campaign and headed home to try to grapple with what led to Eric. Logan's death when he began talking to his constituents it became clear. Many of them blamed mayor Pete himself. Give us route that you can really do over. Over. Yes. Adam says, if you're an undecided voter it's worth paying attention to how this fight over policing plays out, the key argument of his presidential campaign is that Washington D C should operate more like our nation's best run cities and towns. And when you look at his purview as mayor of south bend, one of his key responsibilities is over the south bend police department. So if he is going to be president his responsibility over the south bend. Police department is really worth kind of poking at and investigating looking at, because it really shows us what kind of meter he he's going to be. Today on the show, mayor Pete deals with the crisis at home. He's been trying to connect with black voters on the campaign trail, but first he's got to connect with the black voters back in south bend. I'm Mary Harris. You're listening to what next stay with us. Next is supported by Charles, Schwab sting informed is all about asking the right questions, which is why Schwab encourages you to ask questions about the way your wealth is being managed. Do you know how much you're paying and do you get your fees back? If you're not happy, a twelve you get low cost and satisfaction guarantee. If you're not happy for any reason, the refunder fear commission to go ahead, ask your broker some questions, if you don't like their answers ask again at Schwab. To find out more, visit Schwab dot com forward slash comparis-. I wanna start this conversation, not by talking about people to judge. But by talking about Eric Logan, the victim here he was a father. He went by the nickname, five nine and there is a lot. We don't know about how he was killed. The police say Eric had a knife. His family says that can't be right. A few days before mayor Pete, sat for his interview with, Reverend Williams ERC. Logan's brother and family friends appeared with Reverend Williams too. It was billed as a press conference. This is none. About Peter Putin judge, and his bid to be president. So I just want you to know that what you here today, may not make the news real but it's not about Peter Buddha. Judge is about, Eric Logan, and family. In this nearly two hour broadcast the community dissects every detail of Eric Logan's death. They talk about Wyan ambulance was never dispatched to bring him to the hospital. They talk about why the family couldn't photograph Logan's body. And you can hear how frustrated Eric Logan's brother, Tyree says with the cops and with city hall, the trust is just gone. Finley farther away. Lying to our face. I told asked politicos Adam ran to try to get closer to the truth here as hard as it might be. We started out by talking about the officers involved in this shooting. Ryan O'Neal who fired the fatal shots and Aaron Knepper who drove Eric Logan to the hospital, the problem year is that Ryan O'Neal 's body. Camera wasn't activated nor was his dash camera. Activated soon really have no visibility into what happened. And this is important because the police originally said, oh, there will be video footage. We'll be able to look at that, and it's interesting because the family member said when they heard that they just thought a we know that's never gonna show up. And they were right. The total tomorrow morning. We wake up the Venkov not gonna work. She did. And guess what it didn't work. This reflects poorly on the city because one of the reforms, the Pete Buddha. Judge started to usher, in during his second term, as mayor was the institution of body cameras to sort of build that trust between the black community and the white community. And that started at the end of twenty seventeen end was actually passed in twenty eighteen the common council, which sort of like the city council, spent one point five million dollars on instituting body cameras and just for the kind of instance like this, and the body camera wasn't operable, but there's something else, which is that these officers Ryan O'Neal who fired the shots and Aaron Knepper who showed up on the scene. Both of them have these alarming histories. I wonder if you could start by telling me a little bit about Ryan O'Neal, and his background, yet, one of the things that was fascinating to me, as I reported in south. South bend was that all of the black community in this Spanish community that I talked to seem to already be familiar with the officers. There's a case of Derek Burton who was arrested in, in two thousand eight and O'neil called him. You know, the N word during this altercation in taste him on conscious their lawsuits on record against O'neil alleging that there was another case of Michael Alexander who was arrested by Neil and O'neil charged with leveling multiple blows to his head into his back, and then after at O'neil sort of used a stun gun on him. This man Mike lags Alexander alleges that O'neil was laughing about how he was flopping like a fish. Now both of these cases against Neil war were dismissed by a judge in south bend. The people are familiar with him and all of that would be upsetting enough except that Aaron Knepper who drove Eric Logan to the hospital. He also has a really troubling past. That's right. There are a number of different cases that he was involved in as well. One of incidences is that Knepper was involved in an twenty sixteen incident where seventeen year old boy, had his home broken into by the police in a case of mistaken identity. His name was Sean Franklin and they in the middle of the night. Knepper was among officers who punched this boy, six times in stunned him with a tasers, they'd mistaken him for somebody else in this case goes to trial in a jury finds that that to Sean Franklin's constitutional rights violated in a jury awards. His family eighteen dollars. It's shocking to me just completely shocking, that either of these men are in any position of responsibility for the city of south bend yet. And in twenty six. Eighteen there's actually a moment at a board of public safety meeting, where similar protests breakout from some, the same activists that we've seen on these video images from south bend that have gone viral just within the last week. Some the same activists went to this meeting, and they started a fire Knepper campaign. They wanted this officer off the force in at the time Buddha. Judge is at this meeting. He has the same police chief that he has now, any kind of tells press protesters, I don't think this can be resolved by targeting any specific officer can only be resolved by making sure we have a higher level of trust in the community. I'm curious you is reporter. You've been covering south bend for a long time, would you call the police force racist? I think the police force is two hundred forty people large. And so it's difficult to paint with a broad brush among that many officers at the same time you look at these very specific lawsuits. Not only. From people who have been targeted as criminals by the police force, but fellow officers on the force who say they have struggled to be promoted within the police department, and it's hard not to draw a conclusion like that I asked very specifically to mayor last Wednesday after he spoke to new cadets. I asked him whether or not he had a racist, police force and south bend. And the answer that he gave me wasn't. Yes or no? He just said that there was no place for racism in the police force. So this is a question that you asked me that he has an answered yet himself. And so it's difficult to make that conclusion one way or the other. But when you look at officers like air Knepper, and you look at officers like Ryan O'Neal, and you look at how they are perceived by people of color of south bend. I am a white reporter and speaking from a place of privilege. But when you ask black people there, how they feel about these two officers they would say. That they are racist and that south bend has racist police force. Some of these problems go back years before Pete was an office. But Buddha, judge didn't do himself any favors when he fired his first police chief a black man who felt under seige in south bend by his telling she gets a tip from the FBI that his police chief, who is the first police chief black first black police chief in the history of south bend, who's well liked by both black people in white people in the community, a has been secretly recording white officers in his force, who have allegedly been making these racial comments in he's allegedly at the center of F B I investigation for breaking the federal wiretap act. And so people has really his first significant decision to make in office. Does he fire this popular police chief or does he? He allow this police chief to continue on be investigated in his memoir, a shortest way home. He writes about this incident. And he says that he's sitting at the end of a conference room table, sort of malling, which decision is gonna tear apart the community more. And so what he does is he calls the police chief on the phone instead of visiting him in person. This is what he would say would be one of the biggest mistakes of his time in office. And he essentially asked the police chief to resign the police chief resigns, but then only a day later rescinded that resignation on the advice of black people and black pastors respect in the community who liked this police chief, and so now is faced with a crisis. It really consumed the first year of his time in office in lost him a lot of trust not only with black people in the community, but with his common council is common council would. Would sue his office to try to get access to the contents of these of these tapes, and this is a case that is still winding its way through federal court right now even as he tries to run for the presidency and likely still won't be resolved for months if if even at by next year. Mayor Pete is now on his third. Police chief this police chief is white. In fact, the south bend, police force has hired fewer and fewer officers of color since mayor, Pete took office. But he's remained loyal to the force last week, one of the things to judge did while he was off the campaign trail was speak in front of an incoming class of cops. And so the first time that he emerges publicly to sort of address this crisis citizen folding is not with the family of the victim, not with the black community, but with his wife police force, how many officers were black of the six new officers that he faced an address on Wednesday morning, all six were white. It feels it feels looking at all of this. That race is an issue that Pete Buddha. Judge has trouble taking seriously or at least acting on. Seriously? If you listen to people to judge, and you read his comments in his address to these new police cadets. He actually has this preternatural ability to say all the right things. He said a align that really sort of stuck with me as I listened to him in that room with the new cadets. He said, all police work takes place in a long shadow of racism, which is this really sort of beautiful thoughtful sediment, and it was a sentiment that Justice week the police union in south Ben attacked him for an estate. They said that this is a an unfair sentiment that people to judge has expressed an Pete Buddha. Judge has failed to unite the community of south bend. So now not only is he being criticized by members of the black community here, but he's being criticized by his police union, and so he does have. Have this ability to talk about race in a way that feels in sounds compelling, but he is struggling to, as you mentioned, to act on this in a way that, that puts concerns to rest in rebuild trust with community a he would say that he's taken very specific actions to solve this problem. He would tell you that he is instituted implicit bias training for his police force, which he has done. He would say that he's instituted body cameras, which he is done. When you look at the changes that you say people to lay out in this case, those body cameras were off the implicit bias training in this case, the bias seems far from implicit it seems right out there. That's right in one of the criticisms in this moment that we're seeing of people to judge is that he's solving, this very nuanced delicate problem in the same way that a consultant might kind of recommend. Raft of reforms changes, which is particularly interesting when you look at people to GIS biography because, in fact, he was consultant he was a consultant for the storied consultancy McKinsey based in Chicago, and essentially spent a lot of his time before he became Arab. South bend, solving these very cold calculated problems. And so the criticism of his of him has been even from allies, that he is approached this problem that is deeply emotional, in a way, that is surreal, Breuil cold and removed from sort of the heat that belies this very complicated issue. And I have to say from the outside for a while now it's felt to me like p a judge had trouble talking about race in a way that feels authentic. I still remember him going to Harlem with Al Sharpton and eating fried chicken, and it seemed like what? What an algorithm, would tell you to do. If you're campaigning for president, you know, I was driving around with a black pastor in south bend community last week as he was sort of give me kind of a tour of the city in Jimenez, exactly that he said, you know, this is sort of like a cartoon version of what you would do to win over black voters. Any specifically mentioned the eating of the soul food, and he's also mentioned on appearance that people did on a Showtime, show recently where he basically drank alcohol out of a Brown paper bag in a public park in this brow, this, this black pastor was, was really aggrieved by that in basically said, you know, that's a parody of, of what African American people would do to eat soul food at Sylvia's into, to drink liquor out of a Brown paper bag. I mean he was deeply troubled by this imagery. He said, you know, most of the black people, I know here in south bend are professionals, you know. Yes, they soul food, but the much more complex than that. You went to this memorial for Eric Logan. And he spoke to one of the organizers guy named Eli Cantu. And he said he gave put a judge in e for effort, but is he making the necessary moves a haven't seen them, yet after everything we've talked about, I tend to agree with him? I guess my question for you is someone who's followed people to judge for years? Now what is he going to do now after all the listening because he's been listening for a while? That's the thing is to hear his telling of the story, there's not a lot. He can do right now. He would say he can't fire the police officers. He would say that there's no reason to fire his police chief at the moment that is police chief has done a good job. And, you know, he really has sort of shown in his relationship with the south bend police department over the last seven and a half years, a real deference to the police force. And that's what he seems to be doing now. He talks a lot about. Importance of allowing the process to play out just this week. There is a suit against him by the family from a very prominent Chicago lawyer, who took on Rahm Emanuel and lawyer, who has said that he wants to turn it people to judge in Iran, manual, two point. Oh, which is to say that he wants to leave a significant bruise on people to ges record regarding police issues, the prosecuting attorney and Saint Joseph county, which comprises south bend has announced an independent investigations Claes case Pete Brundige has also said that he will write a letter to the department of Justice to investigate his police department and to investigate this case, but he cannot promise that they will take up Southend's case. And so really he would say that there's not much else that can be done right now. It's interesting because you mentioned before being at a public meeting with people to judge and his response instead of talking about. Punishment or firing officer was you know we need to restore trust in the community, and with the community, but that seems to miss understand how you get to trust to me, which is trust demands accountability and consequences and Pete Buddha. Judge does have some power when it comes to accountability and consequences. He does you know, he can fire a police chief, she can appoint different members of the board of public safety. You can extensively exert pressure on them to address cases of individual officers. And you know, this is a real estimating moment for P Buddha, judge, because when you look at what's to come. He's only mayor now for another six months. His second term expires on December thirty first of this year and building trust with the community of people like that after years and years and somewhat argue decade. Kids of instances of the south bend police department breaking trust with, with African American people there. How much of that can be bridged in a period of six months? I don't think a lot. Adam Ren, thank you so much for joining me. It was a pleasure. Adam ran is a contributing editor at politico, and Indianapolis monthly. And that's the show. What next is hosted by me? Mary, Harris and produced by Mary Wilson. Jason leeann and Ethan Brooks. If you like us tweeted us secret fun fact. I answer questions on Twitter. I'm at Mary's desk. And if you're following along, as the democratic presidential debates get started this week, and you are looking for some extra curricular listening material. I have a little suggestion for you head on over to the gist posted by my friend, Mike Pesca today. He is talking to joy Reid, personally. I just know her as a m joy she's gonna be talking about her new book about Trump's rise and what might happen this election season. All right. Talk to you tomorrow.