Pete Buttigieg returned to the presidential campaign trail on Saturday after facing down angry protesters in his hometown of South Bend, furious in the aftermath of the shooting of a black man by a police officer.
‘I am with you after a challenging week back home,’ the South Bend mayor told the crowd at the Democratic state convention. ‘I have been off the campaign trail helping my community move through a tragic shooting of a resident of our community by a police officer.’
‘It is as if one member of our family died at the hands of another,’ he added. ‘And even as an outside process works to determine what happened, we already know why such deep wounds are surfacing, why our whole community hurts.’
Pete Buttigieg was confronted by angry protesters in South Bend Friday night
The protests came after a South Bend police officer shot a black man
Buttigieg took time off the trail, including skipping Congressman James Clyburn’s world-famous fish fry Friday night, to return to South Bend to address an emotion protest.
But, on Saturday, he returned to the campaign trail to face a large number of black voters at South Carolina’s state party convention. The state plays a major role in picking the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.
He reassured the crowd his city would recover from the wounds of the shooting.
He said South Bend ‘is full of people who believe in safety and justice.’
Buttigieg has pledged to run an independent investigation, arguing his city ‘will heal and we will become stronger in the broken places.’
He received a much warmer reception from the crowd in Columbia than he did the previous evening in his hometown where he was confronted by protesters waving signs: ‘Who do you call when police murder?’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’
Several protesters accused him of showing up to help his campaign for the 2020 presidential nomination.
One angry protester said to him: ‘You running for president and you expect black people to vote for you?’
54-year-old Eric Logan was shot last weekend
‘I’m not asking for your vote,’ Buttigieg replied.
‘You ain’t gonna get it either,’ the protester said.
A woman asked him: ‘Are you really here because you care about blacks, or are you just here because you want to be the president?’
‘This is my home, too,’ Buttigieg said.
Another woman confronted him: ‘Do you believe black lives matter? Can you say to us today in front of all these cameras that black lives matter?’
‘Of course black lives matter,’ the mayor said.
Buttigieg is facing the biggest challenge of his political career after a South Bend police officer killed a black man he claimed was attacking him. The officer’s body camera was not on at the time.
The mayor has asked the police department to make sure cameras are on at all times.
Pete Buttigieg returned to the campaign trail in South Carolina on Saturday
Eric’s mother Shirley Newbill was one of the protesters who confronted Buttigieg
Authorities said Sgt. Ryan O’Neill was looking for a man reported to be breaking into cars about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning when he fired one shot that hit 54-year-old Eric Logan and another that missed after Logan threatened him with a knife.
Logan was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died.
His mother was one of the protesters who confronted Buttigieg Friday night.
‘I have been here all my life, and you have not done a damn thing about me or my son or none of these people out here,’ Shirley Newbill told the mayor. ‘It’s time for you to do something.’
A lawyer for Logan’s family said he was going to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer and the city of South Bend.
One protester asked Buttigieg if he believes black lives matter
On Friday night, about 150 protesters approached Buttigieg, according to reports, and made a list of demands, including the firing of police officers.
Buttigieg pledged to fix the situation as best he can.
‘One thing that I want you to know is that we’re serious about fixing this,’ the 37-year-old told the crowd.
‘I will promise that there will be a review to make sure that there is no racism on this department,’ he said.
Buttigieg also addressed a Planned Parenthood forum on reproductive rights before heading to a campaign event in another part of the state.