The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police is calling Mayor Pete Buttigieg to apologize for "calling police racist," saying that the 12 boxes of pizza he sent on July 5 are not enough to heal the wound.
The pizzas arrived after the FOP condemned Buttigieg for "politicizing" the June shooting of Eric Logan by Sgt Ryan O'Neal, which called the mayor's ability to handle racial disputes into question. According to an FOP news release, someone scrawled "from the mayor" on each of the pizza boxes.
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"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," FOP president Harvey Mills said in a statement. "Instead, he sent us pizza. 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."
Mills continued to defend O'Neal, who, although he did not turn on his body camera during his encounter with Logan, Mills says deserves the benefit of the doubt in this shooting. Mills also encouraged Buttigieg to donate to a fund to support O'Neal's legal defense in the impending lawsuits against him.
"If this was a lame attempt to apologize to South Bend police officers, it didn’t go over well," Mills said. "The Fraternal Order of Police supports accountability and the facts."
The FOP originally called out Buttigieg for taking sides against the police department in the days immediately following the shooting.
"Mayor Buttigieg's focus on this incident is solely for his political gain and not the health of the city he serves," it said in a statement. "Mayor Buttigieg's comments have already and will continue to have a detrimental effect on local law enforcement officers and law enforcement officers nationwide. Mayor Buttigieg's comments and actions are driving a wedge between law enforcement officers and the community they took an oath to serve."
Buttigieg has come under fire in the past for numerous racially charged incidents, including the demotion of the city's first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, and the hiring of police chief Ron Teachman, who buckled under multiple accusations of racism.
Several former city government officials and local activists have called for Buttigieg's resignation as mayor.