Buttigieg removes Chicago attorney from fundraiser, returns donations after backlash

Buttigieg removes Chicago attorney from fundraiser, returns donations after backlash
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Poll: 2020 general election remains wide open MORE, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is removing a Chicago attorney as a sponsor of an upcoming fundraiser in the city and returning the man's contributions. 

The campaign’s announcement followed a report by The Associated Press Friday morning that the attorney, Steve Patton, who pushed to block the release of a video showing the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, would be co-hosting the Chicago fundraiser.

“Transparency and justice for Laquan McDonald is more important than a campaign contribution,” Buttigieg spokesman Chris Meagher said in a statement to The Hill.

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“We are returning the money he contributed to the campaign and the money he has collected. He is no longer a co-host for the event and will not be attending,” Meagher continued. 

Meagher did not respond when asked by The Hill why Patton’s donation was originally accepted or why he was initially a co-host of the fundraiser.

Patton had donated the maximum contribution of $5,600 in June, according to the AP. 

McDonald was killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. When a court ordered a video of the fatal shooting to be released, it showed McDonald had been walking away when he was shot and not charging at the officers as they had claimed. 

Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder, while three other officers were acquitted of trying to cover up the shooting. The full investigation into the incident was released by Chicago's law department earlier this month. 

This is not the first time Buttigieg has faced criticism for his handling of race and police shootings, and he has been struggling to gain support from black voters throughout his bid for the White House. 

Earlier this year, a white police officer in South Bend shot and killed a black man, which further highlighted frustration over Buttigieg’s decision as mayor to replace South Bend’s first black police chief.