Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, called for all South Bend police officers to keep their body cameras activated whenever they interact with civilians while working.
The request came on Tuesday, days after a white South Bend officer fatally shot Eric Jack Logan, a 54-year-old black man, while responding to reports that someone was breaking into cars. Logan’s death sparked outrage nationwide. The shooting was not filmed because the officer’s camera wasn’t activated at the time.
Buttigieg, a Democratic front-runner for the 2020 presidential election, was out of town attending campaign events at the time of the shooting. He canceled several events to return to South Bend in response.
“This step is intended to confirm community expectations that police encounters with civilians will be recorded,” Buttigieg said in a statement about the order to keep cameras activated, according to CNN.
South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill claimed he shot Logan because he was holding a knife and repeatedly refused orders to drop it, prosecutors said during a press conference on Monday.
O’Neill and Logan were the only two people to witness the confrontation.
Logan’s family cast doubt on the police’s version of events, saying during a press conference that Logan was walking to his mother’s house after a family gathering when he was shot. They don’t believe Logan was breaking into cars as police claim.
“I’ve known Eric for over 30 years,” Logan’s cousin Vernado Malone told reporters on Monday. “He don’t break into cars. He don’t steal.”
Concern over the shooting intensified as old court documents uncovered by HuffPost and The Young Turks revealed that other South Bend officers have previously accused O’Neill of making racist and discriminatory comments.
Buttigieg’s order on Tuesday reminded officers of an existing city policy that requires all officers to record any work-related activity, including enforcement, investigative contacts, traffic stops, field interviews and any interactions with civilians that police initiate.
“In the wake of Sunday’s shooting, we must acknowledge the hurt and honor the humanity of all involved in this loss of life,” Buttigieg said in a statement Tuesday.
“This work must continue with more urgency than ever as we move forward together in the wake of the hurt caused,” he added.
After the shooting on Sunday, Buttigieg said during a press conference that the homicide unit was investigating whether O’Neill’s use of force was warranted.
O’Neil is a 19-year veteran of the South Bend Police Department. He is on paid administrative leave, according to the protocol for police-involved shootings.
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