Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 in South Bend, Indiana, said they want an apology from Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for his comments on a recent shooting involving a South Bend officer. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

South Bend police union asks for an apology, not pizza, from Mayor Buttigieg

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The group issued a statement and YouTube video Friday detailing their grievances against Buttigieg. Dozens of pizzas with "from the mayor" written on the box were delivered July 5 to the South Bend Police Department, the statement said.

“Last week, while Mayor Buttigieg continued to run a presidential campaign in which he often falsely implies that South Bend police officers are racist, he refused to apologize. Instead, he sent us pizza,” Harvey Mills, South Bend FOP president, said in the statement. "If this was a lame attempt to apologize to South Bend police officers, it didn’t go over well."

Buttigieg's office issued the following statement to WSBT-TV in response: "The Mayor and members of our office have reached out to the FOP multiple times since June 16 and have not received a response."

On June 16, South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, who is white, shot and killed Eric Logan, who was black, The Washington Post reported. O'Neill has been on paid administrative leave since the incident.

Critics of the police response have called on Buttigieg to fire O'Neill.

Supporters of O'Neill, including the local police union, said he acted in self-defense.

Buttigieg previously wrote in a campaign email after the shooting that, “all police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism," according to The Washington Post.

The shooting highlighted racial tension in the mid-sized Indiana city. Buttigieg's response to the incident has been criticized from all sides.

In the first debate after the shooting, moderators asked Buttigieg why he hadn't helped increase black representation in the South Bend police force over his two terms.

“Because I couldn’t get it done,” Buttigieg said. “My community is in anguish ... and I’m not allowed to take sides until the investigation comes back. The officer didn’t have his body camera on. It’s a mess. We are hurting.”

The full statement from the union reads:

Today, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36 in South Bend, Indiana called on Mayor Pete Buttigieg to apologize for calling police racist and then provide a guarantee of fairness and city support for South Bend police officers.

“Last week, while Mayor Buttigieg continued to run a presidential campaign in which he often falsely implies that South Bend police officers are racist, he refused to apologize. Instead, he sent us pizza,” Harvey Mills, South Bend FOP President said. “Our officers are brave men and women who put their life on the line for our community each day. We ask that instead of delivering pizzas, the mayor deliver some respect for what police do—and hold the politics.”

On Friday July 5th, about a dozen pizzas were delivered to the South Bend Police Department. Each pizza box had “from the Mayor” scrawled at the top.

Harvey continued, “If this was a lame attempt to apologize to South Bend police officers, it didn’t go over well. The Fraternal Order of Police supports accountability and the facts. Unfortunately, the Mayor hasn’t waited for any of the facts before condemning Sgt. Ryan O’Neill for defending his life. The evidence shows Sgt. O’Neill defended himself only after a repeat offender and convicted felon armed with an 8-inch hunting knife charged at him and ignored repeated commands to drop the knife.”

The lodge also noted that if Mayor Pete wanted to show some respect by spending money, he might have been more successful had he donated to the Fundly page set up to help defend Sgt O’Neill against the lawsuit and despicable attacks on his reputation. That page, located at https://fundly.com/defend-officer-ryan-o-neill, has raised nearly $80,000 and has attracted the support of more than 1,400 people across America.

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