During a post-town hall press statement, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that the police shooting of an unarmed Black man is part of a larger problem and that if it isn’t tackled in his lifetime it could bring down the United States.
“Well, what I hope African-Americans watching this is that our city is facing it, not running away from it,” Buttigieg said. “This isn’t theoretical for us. This isn’t something being debated in Washington. It’s our problem as it is a problem in so many places. And we are on the front lines of it and we’re doing everything we know how and figuring out things we never thought of before to manage it.”
That’s when he predicted that if the problem isn’t fixed it will likely grow and hurt the country as a whole forever.
“This problem has to get solved in my lifetime. I don’t know of a person or a city that has solved it, but I know that if we do not solve it in my lifetime, it will sink America,” Buttigieg said. “And if nothing else, I hope people know that I am motivated, not out of some theoretical concern or some political imperative, but as somebody whose city is hurting. Seeing people I’ve known for years anguished, frustrated, upset, angry, angry at the city, angry at me, and I’m angry, too. And if nothing else, I hope people can see what it is like for a city to face up to the demons that racism has unleashed on the ability of any city, and certainly any police department to function.”
Buttigieg, who prides himself on being level-headed and calm, appeared agitated during the town hall and after. One member of the press remarked on it, saying that he seemed upset.
“Of course I’m upset, a man died!” Buttigieg said.
“It’s my city and I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe,” he went on. “And when somebody loses their life because of a civilian or because of an officer — and it’s happening all over the country, but it’s happening here. Then I feel like it’s my job to face it.”
Reporters asked him why the issue mattered to him and Buttigieg may have interpreted it as a political question.
“I’m sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms like it’s a show,” Buttigieg said. “It’s people’s lives. And the good news is, if you can call it good news, there’s more propulsion, more momentum to deal with this than ever. So if there hasn’t been the will to take on the kind of steps, we need to figure out the kind of steps that should have happened by now.”
Watch the comments from Buttigieg below:
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