On Monday, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was excoriated in a strongly-worded letter written by a local police union who accused the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful of using a recent officer-involved shooting that ended the suspect’s life “solely for his political gain.“
The letter referenced a June 16 shooting which involved South Bend Police Department’s Sgt. Ryan O’Neill and black suspect Eric Logan. The encounter ended with Logan being fatally shot by the officer, which caused an uproar in the black community.
According to the Daily Wire, Buttigieg’s campaign released a letter on June 20 in an effort to save face with the local black community, but the letter backfired spectacularly on another front after the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 read its contents.
“For Mayor and Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to make disparaging remarks such as ‘All Police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism’ is divisive. Mayor Buttigieg’s focus on this incident is solely for his political gain and not the health of the city he serves,” the FOP wrote.
The full contents of the FOP’s letter can be read below.
After the shooting incident, Axios reported that Buttigieg took time off his presidential campaign to deal with the issue, as it was an early test of his ability to lead and calm a city in the midst of increased tensions between police and the local community.
The damage, however, had already been done. Buttigieg tossed his city’s police officers under the bus, appearing to pander to the black community to save his campaign’s anticipated black vote come election time.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, he also told a crowd during a Sunday town hall that he planned to request that the civil rights division of the Department of Justice look at the case and have a special, independent investigator further explore it.
In their letter, the FOP highlighted that all Buttigieg had managed to do after the incident was further divide cops and the South Bend community.
In 2019, that’s not a great way to show off one’s leadership ability in the face of a crisis.
“Mayor Buttigieg’s comments have already and will continue to have a detrimental effect on local law enforcement officers and law enforcement officers nationwide. Mayor Buttigieg’s comments and actions are driving a wedge between law enforcement officers and the community they took an oath to serve,” the FOP letter continued.
The letter concluded with a plea to the community to set politics aside and focus on bringing the city back together.
“In a short time, Mayor Buttigieg will no longer be the leader of this great city. However, the South Bend Police Department and the residents of South Bend will still be here. If we are to grow and change for the better, it will require us to set political agendas aside and simply come together.”
Given the number of firestorms that have been ignited in the wake of officer-involved shootings over the past several years, those situations have morphed into a type of leadership litmus test.
The burning question is this: If Buttigieg can’t control a crisis in a city with a population of just over 100,000, how in the world would he ever be ready to lead a country of 327 million?
Call it bad timing or bad luck, but Buttigieg, who was already a relatively long-shot presidential candidate, might have just hammered the final proverbial nail in the coffin of his national political career.
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