Year in Review 2019: Officer-involved shooting of Eric Logan
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - As 2019 comes to a close ABC57 is taking a look back on the biggest stories we covered here in Michiana, starting with the officer-involved shooting of car break-in suspect Eric Logan.
In the early morning hours of June 16th car break-in suspect, Eric Logan was shot and killed at the Central High School Apartments on Colfax Avenue and N. William Street in downtown South Bend.
“He said well I'm going to walk to my mom's and that's when I got the call that he was gone,” Shafonia Logan, Eric Logan's ex-wife said that day.
Police say Logan approached former South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill with a knife when the shooting happened.
O’Neill was immediately placed on administrative leave.
"I know whenever an incident like this happens, there is tremendous hurt,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg came back from the presidential campaign trail to comment.
“We will be striving to reach out to community members to community leaders, to keep channels of communication open, even as we wait for more facts to come in,” he said.
According to police, O’Neill did not have his body camera on at the time of the shooting.
“A body camera doesn’t solve anything but is supposed to provide crucial evidence. It defeats the purpose of that system if it is not activated,” said the Mayor.
O’Neill claimed he shot Logan twice because “he had no other choice.” The shooting becoming a breaking point between the community and police.
“There are police officers on this department and other departments that don't belong here... And I promise you... But there are. The majority of our police officers on the police department 100% honesty, integrity,” South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said.
On June 26th Eric Logan’s family filed a lawsuit against the city and O’Neill claiming O’Neill violated Logan’s constitutional rights and that he was discriminated against because of his race.
“We have to take care of the city ourselves. If we want a change, we've got to make a change right here,” Tyree Bonds, Eric Logan's brother said.
In July, Ripley County Prosecutor Richard Hertel was named special prosecutor in the case
“I understand that whatever decision I make people will question it, and that’s ok," Hertel said.
Afterward Sgt. O’Neill officially resigned, citing job stress and national media attention as a reason why.
In August, the Common Council voted to hire outside experts to review police policies including deadly force and body cameras. $180,000 taxpayer dollars was earmarked for the effort.
"Get the people that are racist off the streets. Reorganize your department,” a woman voiced her opinion to Buttigieg at a town hall.
In response to community outrage and many heated rallies and town halls that took place in the weeks after the shooting
"Deadly force. No,” One person protested.
"It feels like we aren't getting no justice at all,” another said.
"They killing us one by one. Wake up,” another said.
The South Bend Police Department did change its policy to mandate that officers body cameras are activated during any interaction with civilians.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit between the Logan family and the city and O’Neill is still ongoing at this point.
The lawyer for the family, Brian Coffman, also went before a judge to try to hear the infamous South Bend police tapes
“We believe that they could be assistance or helpful in proving our 1983 claim or “Monell” claim,” Coffman said.
In an effort to see if any of the alleged racist language used by officers, could help them get the results they want from the lawsuit.
“To show that there’s a pattern of practice in the south bend police department of racial discrimination and other potential crimes committed by police officers that have been covered up,” he said.
Recently, the judge declined his motion to intervene in the tapes case.
Coffman told ABC57 that the special prosecutor looking into the actions of Sgt. O’Neill should be done with his criminal investigation by the end of the year.