Buttigieg acknowledges 'struggle' with racial inequality in South Bend police force, calling it a 'national challenge'

Buttigieg acknowledges 'struggle' with racial inequality in South Bend police force, calling it a 'national challenge'
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Krystal Ball rips Warren's 'passive-aggressive' swipes at rivals Buttigieg: I share a lot of the same values as people protesting my fundraisers MORE acknowledged in an interview that aired early Saturday, nearly five months after the deadly police shooting of a black man in South Bend, Ind., that he’s had “a real struggle” with racial inequality on the force during his time as the city's mayor.

“We've had a real struggle with that during my time as mayor,” Buttigieg told NPR host Scott Simon and two undecided voters from his hometown on Wednesday. “But not only South Bend. It’s really a national challenge.”

Buttigieg recognized criticism he’s faced for the South Bend Police Department’s disproportionately white force despite the fact that African Americans make up more than 25 percent of the city’s population, NPR noted.

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"These relationships are important, I think not only from the perspective of racial justice [but also] from the perspective of public safety itself," he said.

The interview came after Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, a white police officer who has since resigned, shot Eric Logan, a black man, in the Indiana city after O’Neill confronted Logan while responding to reports of a man breaking into cars.

Buttigieg left the campaign trail to address the shooting, and he was met by protesters who were angry about what they deemed inaction on the issue of police brutality.

The 2020 Democrat in June outlined his “Douglass Plan for Black America,” named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which aims to increase economic prosperity in black communities and combat systemic racial inequalities by reforming health care, education, criminal justice and voting rights on a federal level.