ABC57 confronts Mayor Pete about police department, morale

NOW: ABC57 confronts Mayor Pete about police department, morale

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Four days after ABC57 Investigates aired a story about decreased police morale in South Bend, the issue garnered national attention. Today, Fox News put out a lengthy report listing major complaints about a lack of support for police officers from Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his administration.

All of this follows the fallout from the police shooting death of 54-year-old Eric Logan last month. He was a suspect in several car burglaries. Police say he approached an officer with a knife when he was shot and killed.

ABC57 has put in multiple requests to sit down with the mayor about several issues, including police morale and crime. He has declined them all. So, today, ABC57 Investigator Clifton French found him in the elevator outside of his office.

"Sorry, are we doing an interview here in the elevator?" Mayor Buttigieg asked. 

"Yeah, yeah we are." French responded.

"Let's go ahead and set something up." Buttigieg said.

"Mayor, I haven't been able to get ahold of you." French said.

"Let's see if we can set something up." The mayor said.

"So, you're not going to answer any questions about (police morale)?" French asked.

At that point, the mayor greeted another person getting on the elevator and ignored the question from the reporter.

For more than a month there has been backlash from the public about policing. Now, police are speaking up.

“I think absolutely cops have their hands tied. Absolutely.” Former St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander, Tim Corbett, said last week. 

Corbett explained the sentiment he's heard from several officers he knows. He also expressed concern that South Bend's cops could be more timid when it comes to doing their jobs. If something happens, he says they fear they won't be supported.

“Ask the tough questions of the Mayor. What are you having the street crimes unit do? What are you telling them? ‘Let’s take a deep breath and sit back.’ All you’re doing is allowing people to take power that don’t deserve that power. I’m talking about the bad guys.” Corbett said last week.

ABC57 has learned about multiple officers considering or planning to resign amid the political climate. All of them did not wish to be identified.

Since Mayor Buttigieg made his presidential announcement, ABC57 Investigates has asked him to sit down to discuss several issues regarding questions about his military record, abortion, crime, the Oliver Apartments and his police department. He has declined every request. We once again put in another request today to have a sit-down interview to discuss all of those issues. 

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