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South Bend NAACP president comments on community anger after town hall

NOW: South Bend NAACP president comments on community anger after town hall

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Michael Patton, president of the South Bend Chapter of the NAACP, was live in studio on Monday morning to discuss community anger following Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s town hall on Sunday.

“I think it’s important as we look at the pain and the grief that our community is experiencing, that as a faith leader and other faith leaders come together and we continue to pray, that’s first and foremost. I’m a pastor, I love God and I believe in his word, that God can heal and that’s going to take some time as we saw manifest last night,” Patton said.

Mayor Buttigieg stepped off of the campaign trail to respond to the June 16 fatal shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill on W. Colfax Ave. Patton says that actions like the mandate released by Mayor Buttigieg regarding the use of officers' body cameras, Sunday's town hall, and community leader intervention are just first steps. 

“We need to have more town hall meetings where we give groups of people an opportunity to express themselves. That’s one and part of the problem; people don’t feel like they’re being heard. We have to create more opportunities for that to happen. We have to create a way to communicate with our community the things that are happening. I made mention of wins that we already had, one being that our mayor made a mandate that those cameras be turned on every time a police officer is involved in some sort of police situation,” Patton said.

Patton moderated Sunday’s town hall hosted by Mayor Buttigieg, who was joined by South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

One community member at Sunday’s town hall called for a reorganization of the police department by Friday.

“Reorganize your department by Friday of next week and based on data, get the racists off of the street. It’s disrespectful that I wake up every day scared, it’s disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach what to do,” the community member said during the town hall.

Patton says that the community must face racism and then develop plans to combat it. 

“We can’t be fearful of racism, we have to face it, we have to strategize against it, and then we have to begin to address it and minimize it. We’re never going to get rid of racism, wherever that might be. We recognize that it is in our community, in other communities, in police departments,” Patton said.

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