Boykins vindicated; breaks silence and discusses past two months

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The threat of federal authorities showing up at your door is enough to keep anyone on edge, especially if they did nothing wrong. It is that kind of uncertainty that has plagued Darryl Boykins for more than two months, ever since Mayor Buttigieg claimed that Boykins was the target of a federal investigation.

The statement was made in press release put out by Buttigieg in late March, and it sparked many sleepless nights for Boykins. “You think about it every 15 minutes or someone’s calling you about it, and you’re talking to them about it, so you can never forget,” said Boykins.

Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney David Capp sent a letter to Boykins lawyer, Tom Dixon, stating that after an extensive investigation the federal government had found no reason to pursue charges.

In recent weeks, Mayor Buttigieg has claimed that his decisions to remove Boykins and former Director of Communications for the police department, Karen DePaepe, from their positions helped prevent charges from being filed.

The U.S. Attorney’s letter to Boykins’ lawyer doesn’t support that claim. In fact, several law enforcement officers, and attorneys, we have interviewed have laughed at such a claim.

But for Boykins, that is not important at the moment. What matters most to him is that his name has been cleared of any legal wrongdoing.

In an interview conducted just hours after learning of his vindication, Boykins expressed gratitude for the support he has received from the community, the common council, activist groups, and especially from the officers in the department.

Boykins, was touched by the outpouring of support he received from the men formerly under his command.  “It’s pretty tough to get that kind of support from the body of the police department after being on for four years already,” said Boykins.

Boykins went on to explain that being the boss did not always make him the most popular person. But for many, Boykins was respected.

Now, according to officers, the police department like the community is in upheaval over what has occurred.

With Boykins name cleared of any wrong doing, many expect Mayor Buttigieg will do what they feel is, “the right thing” and reinstate Boykins.

For Boykins that is a complicated ball of wax. “I think that’s a conversation that needs to be [had] between me and the mayor; I mean it’s a tough one. You have to ask your family, you have to look into your eyes and say, do you want the job back; it’s a very tough job even without all this controversy, and then you want to make sure you are somebody they want in that position,” said Boykins.

Still, Boykins admits he has an obligation to the community to try and ensure that he does everything he can to help protect the citizens, and he takes that obligation seriously. But it is the last part of Boykins’ statement that really hits the nail on the head; “you want to make sure you are somebody they want in that position.”

If Buttigieg’s statement released late Thursday night is any indication that is not likely.

“If you make mistakes serious enough to bring on a federal investigation into your department, you cannot keep a leadership post in this administration,” said Buttigieg in response to the letter sent to Boykins, DePaepe, and his own city attorney.

When given the opportunity to make a change at the Chief of Police position when he came into office, Buttigieg chose to stay with Boykins. It wasn’t until this federal investigation popped up that things changed.

But now some are wondering how Buttigieg can continue to blame Boykins for something he didn’t institute and wasn’t found at fault for.

Meanwhile, Buttigieg spins the contents of the letter the city received from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as a way to try and dress the situation in a light that is favorable to his administration; giving it the title, “U.S. Attorney Confirms Mayor’s Change of Policy Practices” his administration fails to even mention the other findings of the investigation:

While the letter does mention the U.S. Attorney’s Office “understands” (read: haven’t come and checked) that the practices have been terminated and that new policies are being developed, it falls short of confirming them as appropriate as the letter goes on to state the U.S. Attorney’s Office has not, nor will it, give any specific guidance on the policies.

Finally, the cassette tapes are being returned from federal subpoena, and the community may soon find out what was really said.

For many, only then can the community and the police department really begin to heal the wounds this scandal has created; and if anything there needs to be healing over this matter, according to Boykins.

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