Buttigieg defends his record in dealing with communities of color

Buttigieg defends his record in dealing with communities of color
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Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegTop adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' Biden, Sanders lead Trump in hypothetical match-ups: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes MORE on Monday defended several decisions he made as mayor of South Bend, Ind., that critics have said negatively impacted communities of color in the city.

Speaking at a CNN town hall event, Buttigieg stood by his decision to demote South Bend’s first-ever African American police chief for secretly recording one of his white officers.

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There are allegations that white officers on the South Bend police force used racist language in the recordings.

The South Bend City Council subpoenaed Buttigieg to obtain the recordings, but the mayor’s office refused to turn the tapes over, arguing in court that a judge must decide if they can be made public.

“These tape recordings were made in a way that may have violated the federal wire tap act … I’m not going to violate it even though I want to know what’s on those tapes like everybody else does,” Buttigieg said. 

Still, Buttigieg defended his decision to demote former police Chief Darryl Boykins, arguing that he lost trust in the police chief when he found out from the FBI there was an investigation into the department’s recording practices.

Boykins is a well regarded figure in South Bend. There was anger at the ouster of the city’s first-ever black police chief, particularly when coupled with allegations of racism by white officers within the department. 

“I was a little bit slow to understand just how much anguish underlaid the community’s response to this,” Buttigieg said. “It was about whether communities of color could trust that their police department has their best interests at heart.”

Buttigieg also defended his effort to destroy vacant or abandoned homes in the city, which critics say led to poor minority families being priced out of their neighborhoods.

A student at the town hall asked Buttigieg about the program, which she said “had severe consequences for communities of African Americans and Latinos” in South Bend.

Buttigieg said the effort made the city safer and that its aim was to improve the neighborhoods for home owners and renters alike by reinvesting in “mostly low income and minority neighborhoods.” But he acknowledged there were some unintended consequences.

“No policy is perfect and we learned some things the hard way on this one,” Buttigieg said.