Protests Disrupt South Bend Event Designed To Show Black Community Support For Buttigieg

Dec 4, 2019

Protests erupt at an event in South Bend on Dec. 4, 2019, where some African American members of the local community planned to speak to positive aspects of Pete Buttigieg's term as South Bend mayor.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

An event designed to show that there is support in the local South Bend African American community for Pete Buttigieg, at one point devolved into protest.

Some of the community members who had gathered to speak in favor of Buttigieg included Karen White and Sharon McBride who are on the South Bend Common Council, Gladys Muhammad with the South Bend Heritage Foundation and Michael Patton who is a local pastor. 

Watch the video below to see what happened when a protestor grabbed the microphone.

The protestor identified by others at the event as Igor Rodriguez shouts, "Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg? What kind of nonsense is this? This is a farce." Then some in the room begin to chant "this is a farce" repeatedly.

Ultimately it was a brother of Eric Logan who helped to peacefully escort the protestor from the meeting space. Eric Logan is the black man who was killed by a white South Bend officer in June.

Tyree Bonds (brother of Eric Logan) tries to help restore order when a protestor interrupts the community event.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

The killing touched off a firestorm of controversy over South Bend Police policies and it put a glaring spotlight on Buttigieg's leadership in his hometown. 

Logan's brother did not appear to be at the event representing any side. He often attends community events like this that have been held since Eric's death. 

Representatives with Black Lives Matter held signs in the back.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators hold signs at the event.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

There were also shouts during the event referring to the South Bend Police tapes controversy that occurred shortly after Buttigieg took office during his first term as mayor. In response to that crisis early on in his administration, Buttigieg demoted the man who was the city's first black police chief.

 Another speaker who was interrupted was touting Buttigieg's Douglass Plan, but a protestor shouted, "It's just words." Another demonstrator pointed out that it's not reparations. 

Pastor Michael Patton speaks.
Credit Justin Hicks/WVPE

Some speakers who took the mic in favor of Buttigieg pointed out what they feel he has done to bring jobs back to South Bend and to improve housing. 

Muhammad commented after the event that in the 26 years the Charles Martin Youth Center has been open, "We've never had this much disruption, but it's okay because everybody can have a say."

The Associated Press reports that in the aftermath of the event, Buttigieg is applauding African American leaders for “speaking their truth”