Community concerned about lack of body camera footage in deadly police shooting
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- As the investigation continues into the officer involved shooting that left Eric Logan dead, anger continues to rise from members of the South Bend community.
Investigators say there is no body camera footage from the shooting, which is a source of many people’s frustrations.
Police policy says officers should activate their body cams during all enforcement stops and field interview situations, but Sergeant Ryan O’Neill, the officer involved in the shooting did not turn on his camera, and that’s not sitting well with the community or the mayor.
“Extremely frustrated. The whole purpose of body cameras is that when there is a difficult or tense moment, we can either validate that an officer did the right thing or determine that an officer didn’t,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
54-year-old Eric Logan was shot and killed by Officer Ryan O’Neill early Sunday morning at the Central High School Apartments at William And Colfax.
Investigators say Logan approached officer O’Neill with a knife after he was confronted for breaking into cars.
Verando Malone, the Logan family spokesperson says that the lack of footage is unbelievable.
“The truth is going to be hard to tell without that video,” Malone said.
Tuesday night, Mayor Pete asked Police Chief Ruszkowski to issue a general order that “all officers are to keep their body cameras activated when engaging with civilians.”
“A body camera doesn’t solve anything, but is supposed to provide crucial evidence. It defeats purpose of that system if it is not activated,” said the mayor.
The city approved a $1.5 million contract for body and in-car cameras in 2017.
The South Bend FOP sent out a Facebook post defending the officer, in part it says:
“Body cameras have only been deployed for about a year. For any officer with a substantial amount of time on, manually activating the cameras isn’t always second nature, let alone during a high stress situation.”
And the police group asks the community to keep an open mind. The post continues, “This was a split second decision and no one should be judging or questioning it without all of the facts.”
The FOP did decline an on camera interview, but tells ABC57 that they offer condolences to Eric Logan’s family, and right now they’re focusing on the welfare and support of Officer O’Neil.
The property manager at Central High Apartments says that there is no surveillance footage because the camera system has not been in operation for some time.