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Pete Buttigieg Holds a Town Hall in South Bend, Indiana and Faces Criticism After Police Shoots an African-American Man; Emotional Crowd Greets Pete Buttigieg at Town Hall. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 23, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That it -- I want to know the procedure for the transport, and when will we get our refunds for the debunked police cameras that are not working for our communities? Because, you know what, I am raising a seven-year-old grandson that when he sees the police, he is afraid. That is not what's supposed to happen in America, in Indiana in 2019.
Please address the two specific questions that I've asked you today and thank you for your time.
SCOTT RUSZKOWSKI, POLICE CHIEF, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: You want me to --
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you do this, forget about the cameras and I'll take -- the transport.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want me to repeat it?
RUSZKOWSKI: Let me start -- may I start with the transport that you're referring to and everybody is well aware of it. Absolutely, whatever any officer can do that they believe is right to save somebody's life and their belief then I'm behind that. I don't know --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I want to hear him. Please. Please. I need to hear this, so let him please tell me because those are my questions. I need to hear it. I'm not being selfish. I just want to be informed on what the policy is. Please let me hear his answer.
RUSZKOWSKI: I'm the police (ph) and I will tell you specifically I spoke to -- I don't want to say the two doctor's names I spoke to. They will hopefully come forward somewhere in the future -- had talked about and what it's called and this is blunt, it's called load and go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
RUSZKOWSKI: As quick as we can get somebody within that golden hour to the operating room, not just the E.R., to the operating room is the mostly optimal time we can to save somebody's life. I don't know if those are the exact circumstances that happened Sunday. However --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will you know so that you can inform us?
RUSZKOWSKI: Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When will you know so you can inform us? Is that investigation still ongoing?
RUSZKOWSKI: Everything is still with the prosecutors. Any video, any body camera, and there may be body camera and in-car camera video, all the things that happened out there, maybe not one specific officer, but all the officers that responded out there.
Yes, I would look forward and what I hope that I would receive that from the prosecutor if they are using that as their investigatory evidence in a criminal case, we as well would use that within our internal case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And the only thing I have to say to your answer -- thank you for answering me -- this is sounding a little Laquan McDonald-ish to me because in 2014, this happened in Chicago where they said there was no camera and there was camera. There was footage.
And then once everything started rolling downhill when it got leaked that there was dash cam footage, then people started resigning and getting fired and the mayor, Rahm Emanuel quit being the mayor because there was a cover up.
So, I just want to make sure that you are aware that we're looking for no cover up. We want transparency, total transparency in this case because Eric Logan got -- my sympathy and condolences to Eric's family. Eric Logan did not deserve to be treated like this.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes. So, a few things I just want to mention. One is -- and I know people don't want to hear this, but I need to tell -- but I do need to tell you something that is truthful and I am not commenting on this case because we are waiting for the facts on this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree.
BUTTIGIEG: But in some cases, it has been recommended that when waiting for an ambulance, it is better to just have a police officer take them in and that there is a better chance of saving their lives. I'm not talking about this case.
Yes, and we will research that and put that out because I know that's important. Secondly, about the cameras -- and I should also say, look, we have to wait for the prosecutor's part, right? So, we've been notified that they did not find body camera footage from the officer of the moment of the shooting.
There may be other footage to work with, dash cams from afterwards. I don't know what it might tell us, but I want you to know that as that emerges, there will be transparency. The next thing is you're saying can the city get its money back. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BUTTIGIEG: Because we bought a technology and the public was given a certain set of expectations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
BUTTIGIEG: And those expectations were not met.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
BUTTIGIEG: If the failure was a failure in the technology, then you could hold the company accountable and ask for your money back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BUTTIGIEG: Or -- could I, please, could I please continue? It's possible that the technology worked as it is supposed to and the failure was somewhere else. There could be a failure in the policy.
[17:05:02] There could be a failure on the part of an individual to adhere to the policy. Again, I can't speak to the specifics of Sunday's incident now because that's under review. But I guess my point is it could be any of those things, a failure of an individual, a failure of the policy, a failure of the technology.
We will find out. But if anybody is trying to figure out who to hold responsible, the administration bought the technology, hired the officer and wrote the policy. So at the end of the day, I'm responsible.
Lastly, what you said I think is really important and it's what's at stake today and I know we're going to have to wrap up for now, but obviously this is the beginning of a conversation that will continue. But when you say that --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I'm listening. I'm listening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen -- thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: When you say your grandson is afraid when police pull up, that is the biggest thing that we've got to change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm (inaudible) in here with me to see that.
BUTTIGIEG: Good. Well hopefully, when he's old enough to be mayor, he will look back on these moments as when we found a way to start moving toward a day that I want him to see -- I want to see it, too, but I definitely want him to see it, where a black child and a white child or a black adult or a white adult, when they see or hear a police officer or vehicle, feel the exact same thing and feel safety.
And we're just not there. And I'm doing what everything I know how to fix it. And the chief would not be the chief if I did not have confidence he's doing everything he knows how to fix it. And obviously we're not there yet. We can't do it alone. We can't do it without the community, but I believe in this community.
And places all over the country are trying to get a handle on this. And if anyone can do better than the rest of the country, if any community can fix it or at least make more progress than the others, I believe that South Bend can be that community with your help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Thank you, mayor. We're going to go to another resident who has a question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a few questions for the mayor and the pastor up there. First of all, trust has to be earned.
RUSZKOWSKI: That's right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secondly, how can a pastor as police chief who's thoughts (ph) are of the world console people who's been hurt? You go to the church for that. Pastor, have you been out there to comfort them? Have you went to the other churches to comfort them? Have you? So don't look to the world to do your job. Don't look to the world to do your job. That's a spiritual thing and you know that.
RUSZKOWSKI: That's right and that's why I spoke of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And as far as you, Buttigieg, yesterday if I'm not mistaken, I heard you say if the cameras were working. And I heard the police say that they turn on the camera for certain situations. Didn't you get a 911 call and say that he was breaking out windows or what have you? Ain't that the time to turn on the camera?
The situations we are in now is because of those (inaudible) for years ago. You talk about racism that you probably don't have in your department. Yes, you do. You two listen at the tape to find out who these were. Is he one of them? So how are we going to trust anything you say?
BUTTIGIEG: I'm sorry, I was not -- I apologize, I was not able to hear the question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you say that Ken Carter, the prosecutor, may be over certain things? I know Ken Carter. He's the biggest liar in South Bend. He cannot be trusted. I know him. I know for a fact he cannot be trusted. So, pastor, when you tell us what we need to do, as a man of God because I know the word --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get out there and comfort those families.
RUSZKOWSKI: I'm out there every day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get the rest of them other pastors together and get out there and walk the beat like Paul and Timothy did in --
RUSZKOWSKI: In fact, let me share this while you're raising that question. I've been meeting with the family, the Eric Logan family, and other families in our community. So, since you did not know that, I want to make you aware of the things that I have been doing.
I have a church that I pastor. There are pastors here that pastor their own church and they give them spiritual guidance. So, I appreciate you letting me respond to your question. If you ask me a question, let me respond. Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. We have -- if I may -- If I may, with the help of the National Action Network.
[17:10:00] They have been helping in regards of collecting some questions and I know that we have been going over with some of the questions so I want to at least get a few in, if I may. The first one is, since you mentioned the failed efforts to diversify the police departments, what will you be doing next? So that is both to the mayor and the chief, if you would not mind.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes. So I can tell you one idea is that we had a CTE with the fire department and some would say can we add a CTE program with the police department for the same purpose, to get more applicants, young people interested in law enforcement. The reason it hasn't been possible up until now is you got to be 21 to be on the department versus 18 in fire.
But because we've really been pressing this issue, the police department leadership has come up with the idea of having a sort of joint CTE that gives people a career in law enforcement with the county or in some way short of being a police officer to bridge those three years until they're old enough to become a police officer.
And it's one example of a measure that would help create a pipeline. But this is one where I promise you we have tried everything we can think of. We've even placed online the data about how many applicants of each racial background come in and then fall out at each stage of the process.
And if there are things we haven't thought of, which there must be, we need the help of people in this room and people in the city because we cannot expect there to be the comfort level we need unless the police department actually reflects the diversity of the community that it serves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where did all (inaudible) and why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am, thank you.
RUSZKOWSKI: May I as well share --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you may. Yes, you may, chief.
RUSZKOWSKI: Because what the mayor referred you to, like the police department --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we may, please. Thank you so much.
RUZKOWSKI: -- through our diversity inclusion, matter of fact, spearheading everything has been Christina Brooks, through all of our resources we have at the police department and through the sheriff's department, to the mayor's point, you can't become a police officer until you're 21.
However, working with the sheriff's department, you could0 start as early as 18. With that being said, that's not the important part. The important part is called homegrown. Our neighborhoods bringing their recommendations to us and through us when the homegrown program is how we start to make that change.
I don't know if it will work. We're just now trying it. We've tried everything and one most important thing, and anybody that knows me in this room has heard me say it a million times and here comes a million and one, community in-reach. We've done outreach after outreach and keep getting pushed away.
We'll open our arms for the in-reach to help us. I have been begging if I have to do it again today, and I am doing it again today. I'm begging you please help us change what needs to be changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much. We do have one more question from a fellow resident. And then we'll have Mayor Pete make closing remarks, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, I want to say everybody in here may have different views. We all are hurt, but we all have different views. We have to remember that if we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem.
Now, if I were to fall right now, I would say, ouch, I would scream, because I'm in pain. But then after that, I need to put a Band Aid, I need to put a solution -- there's a process to the healing process of it.
First of all, I want to take the time to thank everybody that's been here right now and is voicing their opinions. And there is hurt and that's voicing it, because without your words, change won't come. Without your pain being expressed, there would be no change.
Closed mouth doesn't get fed. So for that reason alone, I thank you for coming and voicing your opinion. Now, like I said, there's a process to it. The pain has been heard. The remarks have been heard. So now with the man here and when we're all here sitting, waiting for a plan, waiting for suggestions on how we can change this, this is the time for this now.
Now, one last thing I want to say is --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- waiting for a year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One last thing I want to say is for everybody that's here supporting either cause is what kind of friend are you to the cause? And I want to say it like this. I could have a friend that is getting ready to make a decision.
It might not be the best decision for him, but he might make the bad decision because he's hurt, it's pain, just like us right now, we're hurt. A good friend would change the direction of that friend and say, hey, I know you're hurt, but instead of contributing to what you're about to do, look, this is the real way to solve it, and not many of us can do that.
[17:14:58] We have a lot of friends that are going to go the wrong path instead of being the bigger man and saying, hey, that's not the way you do it. As a friend, I'm telling you that this is a better way. That's the same way I want to apply this to this cause. We can come here and we can yell out. We can. We can.
BUTTIGIEG: Let him finish. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But unless we educate ourselves and our people that we care about on how to funnel the process, we won't have any change. And that's all I got to say.
BUTTIGIEG: Thank you so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor, if you would not mind making some remarks.
BUTTIGIEG: So, this is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. And I need everyone to participate and stay involved. And I cannot promise you that you will be happy with every choice we make, but I promise you that every piece of input will be taken seriously. Every voice will be heard.
And I believe that the city can do this. I believe the city can break new ground in what it takes to deal with a crisis that so many communities are feeling. So, you can decide whether or not you believe in me, but I believe in this city.
I believe in you. And this is part of it. And we'll keep it up. And I thank everyone for caring enough to be part of this and I thank everyone for believing that there is a way forward in our community because this is our home. So, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before we dismiss, we're going to actually ask Pastor Patton to close us in prayer. But I do want to let --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much. Dr. King said we must accept finite disappointment --
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. And as you have just been witnessing, anger and frustration is boiling over today in South Bend, Indiana at a town hall meeting with Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Now, on the face of it, he hoped to address rising community outrage about last weekend's fatal police shooting in which a white officer shot and killed a black man. But the audience there was not having any calm discussion of police policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- no, I want to let everybody know something. I tried to set a town hall up three years ago between the communities. The community reached out to the police. We have to bridge this gap between the police and the community. I personally -- you remember that.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know personally because (inaudible) but you wouldn't know that. Three days before so, I set up the (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, I'm going to give you the mic.
BUTTIGIEG: Sir -- Sir --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me calm them down and let me give you the mic.
BUTTIGIEG: Sir, someone has the mic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold on. Hold on. If everyone can just -- we're going to allow him to speak if everyone can just calm down.
(END VIEDO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Jason Carroll is live in South Bend. CNN's Political Reporter, Dan Merica is in Washington. Also with us, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein, who has been listening to forums nationwide on criminal justice reform as part of his work for "The Atlantic."
We also have Professor Michael Eric Dyson, author of "What Truth Sounds Like" and former federal and state prosecutor and now a CNN Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, who has done dozens of meetings like the one we just saw.
Let me start with you, Michael, as you've been watching this with us all here at CNN now for quite sometime. How would you rate Buttigieg's performance?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR: Not so good. I'm a professor. I'd have to say a C-minus, maybe a D-plus. The things he wasn't -- he wasn't articulate about the sweeping process by which human beings are swept into some horrible situations, the visceral intensity of the pain, the passion, the hurt, the trauma that they had endured.
He (inaudible) what's called for here. Vision is what's called for that as former President Bush would say that vision thing. So the reality is that in the midst of this enormous pain, yes, he must remain calm. Yes, he must remain sensitive, but he didn't speak I think to the underlying issue here.
That is that he has contributed to an atmosphere that has gravely exacerbated the tensions in that community, so much so that they are spilling over. They shredded protocol. They were incapable of (inaudible) on that stage because the outpouring of angst and anxiety of black people dying, of police people being responsible for it, of those police people still being on the force, of a mayor who seems to be caretaking and not seriously concerned.
This is the very moment to pledge with greater poetry a commitment to the relief of the burden and not simply sit there and try not to be defensive and yet avoid some of the most serious issues that had to be addressed.
CABRERA: Jason, you were there. You were listening. You were experiencing on the ground.
[17:20:02] Was there anything that was said by Mayor Pete, which they refer to him as, that seemed to resonate, that seemed like it may have been a step forward?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, in terms of how this audience is feeling, I'm not sure that they heard something that felt like a step forward. I think many of them, Ana, felt like what they heard was a step back, to what they heard years ago, back in 2016 when many of them were asking the same questions about this police department.
Asking the same questions about officials who had promised that things would change, and yet here we are. I think that is why you're hearing so much frustration from so many members here in the community who came out and wanted to hear more about a couple of things.
First of all, transparency when it comes to the department. Transparency in terms of when something goes awry in their eyes, what is being done to rectify that situation? And a lot of people out here, Ana, are feeling that they're not hearing that right now. A couple of other things, and when you talk about the department itself.
The mayor himself admitted, look, he has not done enough. The city has not done enough to diversify the department. The department is still overwhelmingly white, even just last week. You know, six new officers were sworn in. All of those six officers were white.
Then when you look at what these members of this community have been alleging all along, that you've got members of a department who are racially insensitive. You've got members of the department who they say use excessive force.
And so when you have a situation like what we just saw where you have a man who was allegedly trying to break into cars, allegedly pulls out a knife, he is shot, he is killed. All of that is happening on the backdrop of a community that years ago has asked for more help in terms of trying to build trust with the police department.
And promises were made. And what you hear is frustration over a number of people here in this community, Ana, who feel as though promises made, promises not kept. Ana?
CABRERA: Guys, let's listen in again to some emotional moments from this town hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTTIGIEG: So, if I understood your question correctly, it's about a feature where when a gun is removed from its holster that it automatically activates the body camera, is that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BUTTIGIEG: I'm sorry. I cannot hear Jordan speak if you're shouting over him. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When a shot is fired.
BUTTIGIEG: When a shot -- I don't know that has --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know?
RUSZKOWSKI: So, Jordan, good question. That technology exists, but it's not implemented.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: Why? Why?
RUSZKOWSKI: I asked --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: We don't trust you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't trust you all, man.
RUSZKOWSKI: I have the same questions that you did and I called the company myself and I talked to them myself and their best guess, for the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him talk.
RUSZKOWSKI: They don't even have a testable yet. It won't be rolled out until this coming spring is what the company told me. You can call and check and ask with them, same thing that I did. Call and ask them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ron, race issues as we know, and tensions have been front and center this week for the 2020 field.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
CABRERA: Are voters paying attention to this?
BERNSTEIN: Well, certainly. First of all, at the local level, I have been in cities over the last couple of years, from San Francisco and Milwaukee to Houston and Pittsburgh, and there is no issue in urban America that is more intractable and incendiary than the police use of force. I mean, it is a central issue in cities everywhere, and in part
because of one thing you saw today which is that African-American communities in particular feel that they are not being heard in their unease and discontent about the way they are being policed.
And that kind of sense of Jason was talking about that, you know, we've been trying to have this forum for years and we never really got heard before. The other thing that's changed, I think, that has made these issues even more pointed is that cities are recovering.
You know, cities were declining for -- when I was growing up in New York, it was the era of four (ph) to New York, drop dead. It was kind of like a receding tide lowers all boats. Now, you have the South Bend as an example of this, but certainly in other cities even more.
Downtowns that are recovering, jobs that are coming in, incomes that are rising, and yet none of that seems to provide opportunities for kids in low-income and minority neighborhoods where schools are still overwhelmingly segregated by income and race.
And so you see this kind of sense of isolation and exclusion from a gleaming downtown, which I think South Bend, you know, to some extent reflects as well, that exacerbates this frustration. And I think all of these things coming together are making the issues very, very pointed in these cities at a time, Ana, as we talked about where cities have become the absolute geographic foundation of the Democratic coalition.
[17:25:03] Over half of Hillary Clinton's votes came from just the hundred largest counties in America. And I would submit to you and virtually every one of those counties, there are mayors and city councils that are dealing with precisely these issues.
CABRERA: And in fact, Elie Honig, who is with me, I know you have investigated many a police shooting and dealt with some of the issues that we're seeing play out before us there in South Bend.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There's an incredible tension that comes into play here naturally, and I've been to many, many meetings like the one we just saw. On the one hand, you have a community that feels this deeply.
You can see I think just now, viscerally, the hurt, the pain that that community was feeling. And I think part of the problem that the Mayor, Buttigieg, and the police chief had and I think Professor Dyson was alluding to this is, you can't just go after the fact.
You can't just go once this shooting has already happened to people are up in arms. You need to put in the time beforehand. And listening to the people talking today, there seemed to be a sense of, you're here now, but where were you before?
On the other hand, you have the highest stakes kind of criminal investigation going on here. There is a police officer who is now being investigated for potential murder charges. Investigations need to be done secretly to some extent behind closed doors. And so there is a tension there between the need for transparency,
letting the community know what happened, but also doing the investigation properly and with all the safeguards that any person who is being investigated is owed.
CABRERA: One of the big takeaways I have there, Dan, is the emotion in the room that we were seeing and feeling and hearing from so many of the constituents who were there and yet, one of Buttigieg's assets on the campaign trail has been his very even temper which we saw there, but that fell flat in this crowd.
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. I've covered Pete Buttigieg for the last few months pretty extensively and that was actually more emotional than you see him on the campaign trail. Something that voters give him a lot of credit for is that he is even keeled, he gives answers that are lengthy and that are detailed and he takes his time. You can almost see him thinking about things as he's answering.
In that environment, yes, it noticeably was different than the heat that was coming out of the audience. He wasn't giving that back and he wasn't -- he wasn't responding with such passion. But that really is who he is and he was actually more emotional I think in this venue than he is on the campaign trail.
One thing that I did notice is at multiple times during the event, he faced up saying that, you know, I am responsible. It is my fault. We have failed on these things. And we have a story out today that notes that in 2014, 10 percent of the South Bend police department was African-American. And today that number is 5 percent.
That is clearly on the minds of people who were in that audience. And he faced up to that and said that that has been -- that has been a failure. The way this resonates on the campaign trail I think remains to be seen. You know, there is obviously going to be a lot of coverage of this that's going to get out there.
But I will tell you one thing that Buttigieg gets a lot of credit for on the on the campaign trail, is facing up to things and being blunt about his failures or where he is working on things. That could, you know, the moments that he says, I made a mistake, I didn't handle this correctly, I could see that playing well with certain voters.
But certainly this is going to -- this is not what he wants going into a very critical week where he's going to be on the national stage standing next to Joe Biden at the debate in Miami. And it's a unique moment for him as well because we have for the last three months seen a pretty unabated rise of Pete Buttigieg and this is certainly been a very trying week, something he has acknowledged and the political ramifications of it could be significant.
CABRERA: OK, thank you all -- go ahead.
DYSON: Can I say very quickly? It's one thing to be, you know, dispassionate and calm and reasoned. But even Kawhi Leonard who was a cyborg, who had no emotion in dismantling the Golden State Warriors, showed emotion at the appropriate time. And I think that here, what plays as dispassion and calmness and
equanimity of spirit, seems almost, not that he doesn't care, but that it doesn't penetrate his heart, that he doesn't feel it, that there's no radical empathy there.
And so I don't expect him to get up and, you know, (inaudible) belly ache against the police department that he also oversees technically. But it is important for him to say, look, I can feel that pain. You can dismiss the Bill Clinton I feel your pain, if you want. But there is something to be said for a politician.
Getting away from the sheer technocracy of the mastery of detail and minutiae to step inside and see the broader picture, the bigger reality that those people are confronted because they have no advocate other than his bully pulpit. And then what they bring to the space is their raw emotion.
And at that level, there's got to be some recognition and acknowledgment of their humanity because they are dying literally for interpretations of the law that are not just technical, they're visceral, they're humane, and ultimately they are lethal.
CABRERA: They want to feel that you feel them. I want you all to stay with us because we do have much more to discuss on this issue. The head of the South Bend NAACP who moderated this town hall, he was on the stage with Pete Buttigieg. Saw it all from his perspective. He's going to join us live coming up. Stay with us.
[17:30:08] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: We are now hearing from Mayor Pete Buttigieg just after his town hall after he was confronted by an emotional crowd there in South Bend, Indiana that was called in the wake of a fatal police shooting. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Pete, how do you feel the (inaudible) today and that how do you feel you conducted yourself?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, there's a lot of pain and you can feel it. You can sense the pain not only around this incident, but around our history. And not only around our history as a city, but what's happening everywhere when it comes to the disempowerment that so many black Americans have felt in relationship with the police.
And obviously that was expressed in a lot of ways today. And when you lead a city and it's hurting, you take that on board all the time, but you especially take that on board at a moment like this. But it's also part of the conversation that's got to happen.
And there were some things that surfaced that can be dealt and things that were proposed we can follow-up on. And as painful as this conversation is, it can also lead somewhere real, and that's going to be my focus. [17:34:56] CARROLL: Mr. Mayor, what we seemed to hear over and over
again is that a lot of people felt as though they're in the same spot where they were a few years ago, back in 2016, when they were asking for some of the same things. You know, the feeling is that why are we in this position where we are today.
BUTTIGIEG: We've done so many things over the years. Obviously, it hasn't gotten us to the point where there is full trust or even the level of trust that we just need. But it's not for a lack of action. It's not for a lack of steps that we've taken working with the community to make a lot of things happen.
It's just not been enough. And this is a national problem and it is an open problem, and we are stepping forward everywhere that we know how. But I get why people are not satisfied because I'm not satisfied either. I just hope it's understood that it's not -- it's not out of any lack of trying. It's a lack of getting to where we need to be.
CARROLL: It is a national problem as you say, so where do you think you now sit with African Americans, not just here in South Bend, but given what has happened here? How do you think this is going to impact your stand with African-Americans not just here in South Bend, but nationally as well?
BUTTIGIEG: Right now, I'm not really thinking of the politics of it. What I --
CARROLL: Oh no, it's not just politics. I mean, I'm just wondering, but you have to think about that a number of African-Americans are sitting at home, they're watching this, they've watched the town halls. It was taken live. And so you have to think in terms of how that -- what happened here tonight is going to impact those African- Americans who watch what happened here today.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, what I hope African-Americans watching this is that our city is facing this. We're not running away from it. This isn't theoretical for us. This isn't something being debated in Washington. It's our problem as it is a problem in so many places.
And we are on the front lines of it and we're doing everything we know how and figuring out things we never thought of before to manage it. This problem has to get solved in my lifetime. I don't know of a person or a city that has solved it, but I know that if we do not solve it in my lifetime, it will sink America.
And if nothing else, I hope people know that I am motivated not out of some theoretical concern or some political imperative, but as somebody whose city is hurting. Seeing people I've known for years anguished, frustrated, upset, angry, angry at the city, angry at me, and I'm angry, too.
And if nothing else, I hope people can see what it is like for a city to face up to the demons that racism has unleashed on the ability of any city, and certainly any police department to function.
CARROLL: You just talked about on a morning show about violence in general, gun violence being down, and now you see what happened this weekend. How do you respond to that and what was it in this town hall tonight that sticks out, something that you know is going to hit your heart and you have to address, you have to respond?
BUTTIGIEG: So, in terms of the incident overnight, it is -- after the progress that we've made this year and last year, it is a reversal. By the way, these two things are connected. Part of how we stop a cycle of violence depends on victim and witness cooperation.
That depends on police legitimacy, which depends on trust. All of these things are connected. And the other thing I know is that everybody in that room who may not agree on much, wants safety and safety has no color.
And we have to figure out as a city and as a country how not to be facing gun violence day after day, week after week. I'm sorry, I'm a little (inaudible), what was the other thing -- oh, the moment. This will stick with me from beginning to end. I mean, this is an experience where a lot of pain and a lot of hurt, but also a lot of ideas came out.
Some of those are ideas we've been wrestling with for quite a while. A couple things I heard were completely new, which is why I'm glad we did this. It's a strange thing to say, because this is not pretty, but it's better than not doing this because people need to be heard.
And you can tell that there are people who spoke up tonight who, no matter how many council meetings and mayor's night outs and other events we did, did not feel heard. So, this is one step that helped in that direction and people obviously have a lot to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Pete, with emotions so raw in South Bend right now, do you feel you can leave your community this week to participate in the Democratic debate?
BUTTIGIEG: I am planning to participate in the debate. I will also obviously continue to serve this community to the best of my ability.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was today just, I mean, you seemed sort of just upset by it all. Would that be an accurate description of how you feel?
[17:40:06] BUTTIGIEG: Of course I'm upset. A man died in this city at the hands of one of the people in charge of protecting the city. And I'm not commenting on who did what, with or without policy, what was legal or whatever, but someone died in this city at the hands of an officer.
And this -- I can only describe it as a demon that is in so many parts of American life, but especially when safety is concerned. And especially in a diverse community like ours, it has reared its head. And as somebody who loves this city, whose job is to cheer lead everything good that happens in this city, is proud of this city.
To also be here when that kind of hurt is being poured out and to know that part of my job is to be there for them, to listen, to have that poured on me, to have even people I agree with hurl all of their anguish, frustration at me because I represent the city and the city has not solved this problem. Of course, I'm going to feel that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I ask? I've (inaudible) where I've never seen a mayor state (inaudible) people who are like (inaudible). Why are you doing this?
BUTTIGIEG: I just think it's my job. I don't know if it's smart or not. I don't know if it's strategic or not. But it's my city and I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe. And when somebody loses their life because of a civilian or because of an officer -- and it's happening all over the country, but it's happening here.
Then I feel like it's my job to face it. I'm sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms like it's a show. It is people's lives. And the good news is, if you can call it good news, there's more propulsion, more momentum to deal with this than ever.
So if there hasn't been the will to take on the kind of steps, we need to figure out the kind of steps that should have happened by now, knowing that no city has fixed this, no city has fixed racism, but some are doing better than others.
Then maybe there is a sense of urgency now that will help us do some good. And maybe the level of attention on this now will help us do something because everybody has got to be part of it and there's just no running away from it. Not for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BUTTIGIEG: All right. Thanks very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: A very emotional Pete Buttigieg there, addressing reporters following his town hall that got really heated with community members who were frustrated and angry over the shooting death of a black man in their community by a white officer, and now confronting problems when it comes to racism and excessive force with policing as some have seen it there.
So, we'll continue to follow this story much more after a quick break. I'll be joined by the head of the South Bend NAACP who moderated today's town hall. He was on the stage with Pete Buttigieg. He saw it all from a unique perspective. He'll join us live, next.
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Re-organize your department by Friday of next week. And based on data, get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do. Get them off the streets.
BUTTIGIEG: If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street. And I would love to be able to finish -- I would love to be able to finish my reply if that's OK. I would appreciate being able to finish my reply.
I believe you have described a specific tool that can be used in order to identify indications of racism. It is not familiar to me, and so I thank you for bringing it up and I will research it right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I'm now joined by Pastor Michael Patton, the president of the South Bend NAACP who moderated today's town hall.
Pastor Patton, thank you so much for spending some time with us after that very emotional event. The crowd did not respond favorably to a number of Mayor Pete's answers. What was your biggest take away from today's event?
MICHAEL PATTON, PRESIDENT, NAACP SOUTH BEND CHAPTER: Thank you, Ana, for having me on and as well for having an eye on our community. We certainly appreciate you coming in to discuss some of the challenges that we have in our community.
We've been a bomb waiting to happen. And on last Sunday, June 16th, that bomb was lit and now we see the fallout of anger. We see mistrust and all of the other tentacles that come along with that. And so we have some things that we must address. Tonight was one of the first steps, I believe, in the healing process.
And that is allowing for people to come to an open forum where they're able to share their questions and to receive as well a response to them. Now, the responses may not have been the responses that they wanted, but it was an opportunity for our community to be able to come together and to discuss some challenges that we have in our community.
[17:50:05] CABRERA: Now, going into this town hall, we know Mayor Pete had an interaction with community members on Friday night at a march in which he was confronted and we heard some criticism that he addressed about not getting it. Based on what you saw transpire today, does he get it? Did he get it today?
PATTON: I believe he gets it. He has got some good people at the table that have joined him and it is a diverse group of people who bring different perspectives and different, as well, challenges to the table that help us all to be able to get it.
And so, we formed together a community committee that we've been able to sit at the table with the mayor and discuss solutions, look at the problems, hard core and then take steps towards bringing resolve to the conflict.
CABRERA: Buttigieg has already faced criticism of a 2015 speech in which he used the phrase "all lives matter." He recently apologized for his remarks, saying he didn't understand its connotations at the time. There is also this, the city's population is 26 percent African- American and 14 percent Hispanic but the police force is only 5 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic. Buttigieg says he has tried and failed to change that. What should he do about that?
PATTON: So, one of the things that are happening that maybe is not told in the story is that we've had a number of police officers to retire. It's been difficult to recruit in the brown skin community and when I talk about the brown skin community I'm speaking of the African-American and Latino community.
And when I was growing up, there was a time when the brown-skinned community wanted to be police officers. They wanted a career as a police officer. Now, that has shifted and I believe it has been challenging for all police departments across the country in regards to recruiting African-Americans and Latinos, and so now our police department does not mirror our community and that is a challenge.
CABRERA: If every challenge is also an opportunity though, does Pete Buttigieg now have a chance to turn this into a boost for his campaign? If he can show how he governs in real time, that's something that candidates may not be able to do even though some whose rivals are in Congress, that's sort of an arm's length relationship to governing. Small town mayor has a much more intimate relationship with leading, right?
PATTON: Yes. Yes He has an opportunity. It's a short sprint. Obviously, he will leave office December 31st and with the leaders that he has around him at this time, I believe we bring some perspective to the table that will help him to address some of the challenges and create some initiatives that would turn these concerns around.
Now, that won't certainly be the end to all because, again, it's a short sprint for him. We will need to continue to carry the baton with our new leadership in hopes that we're able to address the challenges going forward.
CABRERA: Do you get the sense that Pete Buttigieg's time away on the campaign trail is making his constituents there in South Bend feel neglected, like they're just put on the back burner?
PATTON: No. Our mayor has been present and visible in our community. He has been here for some of the major events and situations that occur. And so I don't believe that his campaigning has been a challenge to our community in regards to showing neglect.
One of the things that I think I have to speak up for him in regards to is that he returned to our community as soon as he got wind of the shooting on Sunday. And he was back here, with boots on the ground, ready to address this situation, and so we're appreciative that he paid attention and, as well, found himself back here in our community. CABRERA: So what comes next?
PATTON: So there are next steps. Obviously, this was one step. There are more meetings, of course and we will have to continue to dialogue. We will have to continue to listen. We will have to continue to do research in regards to initiatives and other programs and opportunities that we'll need to bring to our community to bring healing and wholeness.
CABRERA: You're there in South Bend at an auditorium. I'm here in New York here inside our studio. The nation watched this today, what transpired in your community here on CNN.
CABRERA: I'm just wondering what you hope the takeaway is for the rest of the country, watching what's playing out in your community and the painful dialogue that, unfortunately, so many other communities are also having.
[17:55:04] PATTON: Sure. There's a need to be able to express your pain, to be able to express your concerns, to be able to as well, release the anger people that are holding in. And so this is one step in the process of healing.
There is more to come and more opportunities that we will provide where people will be able to be part of the process now of addressing the challenges in our community. And so, I'm looking forward to the next steps that we will create to be able to bring our community together and as well to bring healing to this community.
CABRERA: OK, Pastor Michael Patton, thank you very much for taking your time to talk with us.
PATTON: Thank you.
CABRERA: Much more on this story plus the other news we're following, next. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here. South Bend mayor and presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg faced anger, frustration, and hostility from residents during a town hall this afternoon.
Emotions from the community really came to a boiling point today following a shooting last weekend in the city where white officers shot and killed a black man. Racism and police accountability surged to the forefront.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:59:59] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared.