Community activists hold Mayor to his words, literally
Community activists want South Bend's Mayor to, at the very least, put Police Chief Ron Teachman on administrative leave; while he is investigated by the Indiana State Police for not backing up a fellow officer.
This is a result of a statement the mayor made during the summer of 2012.The statement came during a news conference in the midst of the South Bend Police Department's tape scandal. Now, those words may be coming back to bite the mayor.
On June 1, 2012, Mayor Pete Buttigieg made it clear why he would not be re-instating former South Bend Police Chief Darryl Boykins, in the aftermath of a federal investigation into wire tapping.
“If somebody makes such a serious mistake, that they bring down a major investigation on their department, they're not going to be able to keep a leadership position in this administration and they're probably going to lose my confidence fast,” said Buttigieg.
This week, the Indiana State Police confirmed they are now investigating current Chief of Police Ron Teachman for not providing backup to an officer who was trying to break up a fight at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreations Center.
"When the state police are investigating the Chief's behavior, in the line of duty; that is a major investigation," said Tom Dixon, the attorney representing Boykins.
It is a sentiment community activist Mario Sims shares. "It's the same scenario here; you have a major investigation that was brought about by Chief Teachman, and the Mayor has been strangely silent," said Sims
The Mayor’s Office was not silent Wednesday though. Kara Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office provided us with this written statement:
"Mayor Buttigieg has total confidence in Chief Teachman, and he appreciates the state police's willingness to review this issue."
She also confirmed Teachman would not be placed on administrative leave during the ISP investigation; something that did not sit well with Sims.
"If that's the case, that he's not taking any action, i would consider that a slap, and an insult, in the face of every minority in the City of South Bend; and it clearly shows in my mind that the mayor is discriminating because of race," said Sims.
Meanwhile, the man who originally brought the complaint against Chief Teachman looks at it from a different perspective.
"It's not a black or a white thing, it's a thing about due process,” said Greg Brown, a youth minister and community activist, “if you're gonna make a rule, you've got to stick by the rule; and what you do for one, you gotta due for the other."