Hundreds rally demanding investigation into death of Michael Anderson
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Over 100 people marched through South Bend on Wednesday afternoon demanding answers and an outside investigation into the death of 31-year-old Michael Anderson.
Anderson died in police custody early in the morning on July 22. He was pulled by police over near the intersection of Calvert Street and Dale Avenue and officers say he tried to run. According to the officers they unsuccessfully tried to use a taser on Anderson, eventually caught him and that he died from choking on a bag of marijuana that he tried to swallow.
Wednesday’s march started at the scene of Anderson’s death. His family, organizers from the Rainbow Push Coalition and Citizens United for a Better Government are asking for an independent investigation into the circumstances of his death.
"We want answers, we've been out here the past hour talking with residents, talking with individuals who have given us juxtaposed information to what the police department has said,” explained Bishop Tavis Grant of the Rainbow Push Coalition. “We feel like this investigation is incomplete."
A private investigator and the Anderson family believe the police taser might have played a role in his death, that officers didn’t do enough to try and save his life and that Anderson’s history with officials in the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit may have tainted the investigation into what caused him to die.
“We believe a special prosecutor, we believe a special investigation, we believe even perhaps the county prosecutor should take this upon himself to investigate this case,” Bishop Grant explained. “Give the Anderson’s some peace at knowing that their son’s death is void of any corruption or any type of cover-up or anything of that nature.”
The march ended at the County City Building downtown where a rally was held demanding outside investigation into Anderson’s death. Bishop Grant said with the differing stories about what happened to Anderson and the ongoing controversy regarding the racially tinged police tape recording scandal many feel changes need to be made in the city.
"The African American community's concerned about its safety, the confidence that it has in this community has been eroded,” Bishop Grant claimed. “It's about time that citizens showed up to be participants in the process."
Organizers of Wednesday’s march are planning an even bigger rally at the beginning of Monday’s Common Council meeting where they will call on Mayor Pete Buttigieg and council members to take action.