City of South Bend Responds to an Officer Involved Shooting Fatality

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On Sunday, June 16, a white South Bend Police Department officer shot and fatally wounded Eric J. Logan, a black resident of South Bend, during an altercation that began when the officer suspected Logan of breaking into a car.

Subsequently, the City of South Bend and its residents, facilitated by Buttigieg’s administration, undertook a series of steps to address the immediate concerns following this tragedy, as well as to begin an in-depth community-wide conversation to make long-term changes for the safety of South Bend residents and improve relations between the community and law enforcement.

Below, you will find:

  • the legal constraints an Indiana mayor has when it comes to police officer discipline and officer-involved shooting investigations
  • brief summaries of the main steps taken in the aftermath of this tragedy
  • a day-by-day timeline of the events following Logan's death
  • a list of some of police reforms undertaken by Buttigieg's administration in the years prior

Mayoral Limitations in the State of Indiana

Per statutory law in the State of Indiana, a mayor cannot take any direct action as it relates to police officer discipline. It is instead handled by civilian members of the local board of public safety, which is comprised of local residents appointed by the mayor. At the time of Logan’s death, Buttigieg had appointed 3 black members to the Board, and the fourth seat was vacant. (It has since been filled by a woman of color). [1] Per written policy, the officer was put on administrative leave immediately following the incident. Buttigieg was legally prevented from taking any further disciplinary measures against the officer. The officer resigned several weeks after the incident.

Appointment of a Special Prosector

Also of note is that per protocol, following an incident like this, the initial investigation is required to be investigated independently, which in this case meant that it was led by the St. Joseph County prosecutor and the county’s metro homicide unit. Buttigieg publicly supported local activists’ demands that an independent special prosecutor be named, and within a week, the county prosecutor filed legal paperwork to make this request. The judge agreed, an independent investigation began two weeks after Logan's death. It is expected to conclude in February 2020.[2]

Body Camera Policy and Technological Improvements

A key finding in the first few days of the investigation was that the officer did not have his body camera turned on. Supplying every police officer with a body camera in 2018, a year before Logan’s death, was a key initiative of Buttigieg's tenure as mayor. The policy was clear that officers should turn the camera on during critical moments. It read: “Activate the recorder during all enforcement stops and field interview situations, and any other time the (officer) reasonably believes that a recording of an on-duty contact may be useful." However, the officer did not turn it on when he came into contact with Logan and it was not automatically activated because his car’s emergency lights weren’t flashing.[3] Within two days of the incident, Buttigieg directed the police chief to require all officers to turn on their cameras at all times when interacting with a member of the public. Additionally, within a few weeks, Buttigieg upgraded the city's bodycam technology to automatically turn on the bodycameras when a gun is removed from its holster. This relatively new technology had not been available when the city originally purchased the bodycameras the year before.[4]

Community Discussions and Recommendations

To solicit feedback from local residents with regards to police department policy and reforms, the South Bend Board of Public Safety and mayoral staff held a series of seven moderated community meetings on a range of law enforcement issues. These moderated sessions included members of the Group Violence Intervention Core Group, the South Bend Police Department Roundtable, members of the Common Council, South Bend Police Department leadership, and members of the Mayor’s Office. Members of the public were briefed with information about each topic and then had the opportunity to provide feedback during each of the seven meetings. Feedback from the meetings was then formally presented to the Board of Public Safety for review and possible implementation.[5]

Experts attribute the effectiveness of these meetings with an increased level of trust between the community and the South Bend Police Department. According to a New York based research company, Elucd, which surveyed city residents in the immediate aftermath of Logan’s death on issues like safety and trust with the police department, the police trust score rose from 59 out of 100 this summer to 68 in October. This nine point increase was the highest for a three month period that the company had seen. Among black residents, the trust score rose 10 points from 48 in the summer to 58 in October. “Elucd points to the series of community meetings with South Bend Police as a major factor in this rise in trust.”[6]

Topics from the community meetings and their subsequent recommendations include:

Body Camera Policy

Use of Force Policy

Vehicular Pursuit Policy

Training

Recruiting

External Research and Consultation Regarding Best Policing Practices

In addition to these community meetings, mayoral staff studied best practices for addressing officer involved shootings and police discipline processes in other cities, including a trip to Tucson to more closely examine their initiatives surrounding these policy areas.

The city also hired Chicago-based consulting company 21CP Solutions, led by Charles Ramsey, a black former Philadelphia police commissioner who was asked by President Obama to co-chair a national task force to help police departments improve their community relations. 21CP is evaluating South Bend’s police department’s policies related to use of force, body-worn cameras, bias-informed policing, accountability, community engagement and participation, police officer well-being, de-escalation practices and policies, and recruitment and retention of officers of color. The Common Council approved a $180,000 expenditure for their work, and Buttigieg hopes to have their final report before he leaves office at the end of 2019.[7]

Timeline of the City of South Bend’s Response to Officer Involved Shooting Fatality

Sunday, June 16

  • Eric Logan is shot in the early morning hours in a parking lot.
  • He is later pronounced dead at the hospital. The officer is treated for minor injuries and released.
  • Buttigieg suspends his presidential campaign and immediately returns to South Bend.
  • Per department protocol, an investigation into Logan's death begins, led by the county’s (not city) Metro Homicide Unit and St. Joseph County Prosecutor. Per department policy, the officer is placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
  • At 10 p.m., Buttigieg joined the South Bend Chief of Police for a news conference.
  • Buttigieg also met with the immediate family of Eric Logan in private that evening.[8]

Monday, June 17

  • The day following the shooting, the St. Joseph County prosecutor tasked with investigating the case releases the audio file of the scanner traffic from the night of the incident. You can listen to it here.
  • The public is also informed that the officer did not have his body camera turned on.[9]
  • That evening, a vigil is held by the family of Eric Logan. Buttigieg respected the wishes of community leaders who advised him not to attend.

Tuesday, June 18

  • Buttigieg publicly asks the South Bend police chief to immediately order all police officers to have their body cameras on at all times when interacting with residents.[10]

Wednesday, June 19

  • In the morning, Buttigieg attends a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Public Safety and speaks to newly sworn-in officers. Excerpts from his remarks:

"As you know, you are also joining this police department at a very challenging moment here in South Bend. We gather in the wake of a shooting that has left family members grieving the loss of someone they love, and leaves an officer and his family dealing with the consequences of a lethal encounter.”

“We are facing the consequences not just of distant historical wrongs, but of things happening in our present — a seemingly constant series of stories and videos from around the country showing abuses that tarnish the badge, and fuel mistrust.”

"Every day you will have chances to earn respect for yourself and the department, from starting a conversation at a picnic or parade to learn about what someone needs for their neighborhood, to making time for a child who looks up to the uniform you wear.”[11]

  • That afternoon, Buttigieg holds a press conference at the Civil Rights Heritage Center with local leaders and takes questions from the media.
  • In the evening, Buttigieg and several members of the city council attend a gun violence awareness event that had been planned prior to the officer involved shooting fatality. For more than 2 hours, local residents and members of Logan’s family shared stories of how they had been impacted by gun violence and racism in South Bend while the mayor and city leaders listened.[12]

Friday, June 21

  • Buttigieg and the chief of police attend a “Justice for South Bend” rally and march seeking justice for the death of Eric Logan, attended by hundreds of citizens and members of Logan’s family. At the event, Buttigieg committed to contacting the Department of Justice to detail the case and the effects it had on South Bend.
  • Buttigieg said at the rally: “This isn’t enough, and I get it. We set up body cameras, right? And they failed us when we needed them. If you are saying it’s not good enough, you’re right.”[13]
  • Buttigieg joined the march and walked with Logan’s family.

Sunday, June 23

  • That afternoon, Buttigieg and the police chief hosted a public town hall moderated by the NAACP South Bend chapter president. At the town hall, Buttigieg detailed the process for the investigations and hearings that the Board of Public Safety would undertake, per state law. Buttigieg also took questions from the public and the moderator.[14]
  • At the town hall, Buttigieg said, “I know people aren’t going to walk out of this room satisfied. We are here to have tough conversations, but I want everyone here to be empowered, and I want voices to be heard.” [15]

Monday, June 24

  • The St. Joseph County prosecutor who was tasked with leading the initial investigation into the incident filed paperwork in the county’s circuit court asking for a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation. This was an important demand of local activists, which members of the city council and Buttigieg himself also supported.
  • Buttigieg released a statement supporting the prosecutor’s decision to request a special prosecutor. In it, Buttigieg writes, “Our community is in anguish, and for all of us to come to terms with what happened, it is vital that the investigation be fair, thorough and impartial.”[16]
  • The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police issues a release condemning Buttigieg for being too focused on Logan’s family. They described a statement Buttigieg made “disparaging” and “divisive.” (The quote from Buttigieg that the police union took issue with was: “All police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism.”)[17]

Wednesday, June 26

  • The family of Eric Logan files a federal lawsuit against the City of South Bend and the police officer who shot and killed him.[18]

Monday, July 1

  • Buttigieg sends a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for help in assisting the community in dealing with the aftermath of the shooting.
  • Later that day, Buttigieg held both private meetings and a public news conference detailing ways the city would be reviewing police policies and how it was requesting and organizing opportunities for community involvement in the process.
  • That morning, he also joined a prayer gathering of local ministers in the lobby of the city government building.[19]

Wednesday, July 3

  • A St. Joseph Circuit Court judge appoints a special prosecutor to investigate the case.[20]

Monday, July 8

  • Buttigieg presents an update to the city’s common council, explaining that he is asking the Board of Public Safety to conduct a review of policies related to use of force, body cameras, and suspect pursuits. He specifically asks that this review be done in partnership with the community and via a series of public meetings so that it “will allow for an opportunity both to educate the public and for the public to educate us.” He pledges to implement any suggested policy changes before the end of the year.[21]
  • The special prosecutor, working with a team of investigators from the Indiana State Police, begin collecting evidence for their independent investigation.[22]

Tuesday, July 9

  • The special prosecutor holds a news conference to update the public on the investigation into Logan’s death. He asks for the public’s help in coming forward with any information about the incident. He does not release a timeline for the investigation.[23]
  • Logan’s family and community activists present a petition to the City asking that the officer be placed on unpaid leave. Per department policy, he was placed on administrative leave immediately following the incident. However, the mayor is legally prevented from taking any disciplinary actions involving police officers. Instead, those actions must be taken by the board of public safety, which would have to conduct a hearing in order to take such an action. Evidence would be required to be presented, and that evidence was tied up in the special prosecutor’s investigation.[24]

Tuesday, July 16

  • The officer resigns, effectively immediately. A press release from the Fraternal Order of Police cites stress, national media attention, and the lawsuit filed by Logan’s family as contributing factors to his resignation.[25]

August 1

  • Buttigieg held a press conference with the police chief to outline new initiatives to recruit minority officers. Activities will include more outreach to schools, churches, and a general call for city residents to recommend people to the department. Buttigieg also reminded residents of free training programs to help recruits pass the physical exam.
  • A new initiative was also announced to work with high school seniors who are interested in law enforcement. Although police officers must be 21 years of age, the city was exploring new ways to engage younger people in non-officer jobs as a pathway into the force.[26]

August 12

  • The South Bend Common Council approves a request for $180,000 requested by Buttigieg with Chicago-based 21CP Solutions. The company is led by Charles Ramsey, a black former Philadelphia police commissioner who was asked by President Obama to co-chair a national task force to help police departments improve their community relations. 21CP will evaluate South Bend’s police department’s policies related to use of force, body-worn cameras, bias-informed policing, accountability, community engagement and participation, police officer well-being, de-escalation practices and policies, and recruitment and retention of officers of color.[27]

August through September

  • A series of seven moderated community meetings are held to discuss topics including body camera policy, use of force policy, vehicular pursuit policy, training, and recruiting. These meetings serve as the critical collection of information and feedback that generate subsequent policy recommendations presented to the Board of Public Safety and the public in October and November.

September 25

  • Buttigieg presents his proposed city budget to the South Bend Common Council. In it, he has earmarked funding to hire a Director of Public Safety Initiatives as well as $350,000 for grants devoted to violence prevention.[28]

October 10

  • Buttigieg’s chief of staff and city attorney travel to Tuscon, Arizona to study two of that city’s policing initiatives. One is a progressive discipline matrix that provides more public transparency about police misconduct and disciplinary actions. The other is a Critical Incident Review Board that Tucson uses to investigate officer-involved shootings.[29]

October 16

  • Participants in the above mentioned series of community meetings presented their recommendations to the Board of Public Safety. Those recommendations are linked here:

Body Camera Policy

Use of Force Policy

Vehicular Pursuit Policy

Training

Recruiting

November 20

  • The recommendations that came from the series of community meetings held after Logan’s death are presented at a public meeting by the Board of Public Safety. Based on these recommendations, the police department will now begin revising the duty manual, which will then be presented to the Board for approval at a later date.[30]

Police Reform Policies Implemented in South Bend Prior to Logan’s Death

  • In 2013, members of South Bend's Anti-Violence Commission traveled to New York for crime-reduction training from well known criminologist David M. Kennedy, the developer of “Operation Ceasefire.” A program based on the program was implemented in South Bend later that same year.[31]
  • In 2014, police officer applications were made available online. The specific aim was to ease the process of applying to the department for minorities.[32]
  • In 2015, diversity goals were established in the recruiting and retention of South Bend police officers.

VIDEO - TV series from 2015 discussing the goals for diversity in the South Bend PD and the challenges in recruiting. (PART 1, PART 2, PART 3)

  • The city also stepped up diversity recruiting efforts through transparency and offering training for tests. The city publicly released all data on their diversity recruiting efforts on the front page of the SBPD website.[33] When the data suggested that minority applicants often dropped out before the physical test, the SBPD began to offer a practice physical test prior to the official test.[34]
  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion administered the Diversity Awareness Profile and the Harvard Implicit Bias Test to officers,[35], instituted implicit bias and civil rights training for officers,[36], and held workshops on diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding the human brain and implicit bias, and micro-aggression and micro-affirmation, and included these principals into the city’s Workplace Handbook. This office also helped design, customize, and successfully implement a new Staff Performance Evaluation system, and instituted annual departmental diversity and inclusion goals.
  • In an effort to encourage a community-centered approach to policing, Buttigieg’s administration created “cultural competency” calendars, hosted monthly Diversity Dialogue Lunches, held law enforcement and local men of color small group summits, organized neighborhood diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops, hosted Unity Summits focused on sharing personal stories, and implemented a job shadowing rotation program. Other efforts included the South Bend Police Athletic League, which saw over 1000 kids play sports with officers, and Cops & Goblins Trick or Treat night.[37]
  • In his 2018 State of the City address, Buttigieg noted that the police department saw a third reduction in use of force incidents in the previous four years. Officers also conducted 7,000 foot patrols, attended 168 neighborhood meetings, and held outreach opportunities like Coffee with a Cop around South Bend. The number of investigations and complaints against police officers had also fallen dramatically.[38]
  • In 2018, the City of South Bend invested $1.5 million to get new body cameras and upgrade vehicle dash cameras.' The goal was to ensure safety and accountability for both residents and officers.[39]
  • Buttigieg’s administration also pushed for total transparency from its police force (and more widely, from city government overall). The South Bend Police Department launched an “Open Data Hub”[40], an online transparency database, so any resident can easily get data on crime statistics, case reports (including the number of times police had to use force when answering a call), and shows both officer complaints and compliments. The transparency hub was noted for being very advanced for a city of South Bend’s size.[41]
  • Buttigieg appointed three black members to serve on the civilian Board of Public Safety. The fourth seat was vacant at the time of Logan’s death. It has subsequently been filled by a woman of color. All police firings and disciplinary action must be made by the civilian Board of Public Safety under Indiana law.[42], [1]
  • 1.0 1.1 Politico: "What Mayor Pete Couldn’t Fix About the South Bend Cops"
  • South Bend Tribune: Probe of fatal South Bend police shooting unlikely to finish before February
  • South Bend Tribune: Police shooting exposes limits of South Bend’s body camera policy, technology
  • South Bend Tribuine: "South Bend police getting body camera upgrades to activate when gun is drawn"
  • City of South Bend Board of Public Safety: Community Action Group Meetings
  • ABC57: Results from South Bend policing survey released
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg wants South Bend police reform recommendations before he leaves office
  • South Bend Tribune: Grieving family wants answers in officer-involved shooting death in South Bend
  • South Bend Tribune: South Bend cop in fatal shooting did not have body cam on, says man wouldn't drop knife
  • South Bend Tribune: Shooting tests Pete Buttigieg's balance in running South Bend and running for president
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg says anger over South Bend cop's lack of body camera use is justified
  • South Bend Tribune Emotions run deep at South Bend meeting on gun violence
  • South Bend Tribune: Marchers confront Pete Buttigieg, police chief with frustrations after South Bend shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to hold town hall Sunday in wake of police shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg, police chief again face high emotions, calls to act after South Bend shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: Prosecutor Ken Cotter asks for independent investigation of South Bend police shooting
  • Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #36: Press Release June 24, 2019
  • South Bend Tribune: Family of man fatally shot by South Bend cop files lawsuit against city, officer
  • South Bend Tribune: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg urges public input on police policies and rules
  • South Bend Tribune: Special prosecutor assigned to investigate fatal South Bend police shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks next steps in police shooting review
  • South Bend Tribune: Special prosecutor says he will 'explore every possible lead' in fatal South Bend police shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: Special prosecutor says he will 'explore every possible lead' in fatal South Bend police shooting
  • South Bend Tribune: Group asks for officer in fatal South Bend police shooting to be put on unpaid leave
  • South Bend Tribune: South Bend police officer involved in fatal shooting resigns from force
  • WVPE: Mayor Buttigieg and Police Chief Give Update on Police Recruitment
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg wants South Bend police reform recommendations before he leaves office
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg stresses public safety, neighborhoods in final city budget proposal
  • South Bend Tribune: Pete Buttigieg wants South Bend police reform recommendations before he leaves office
  • South Bend Tribune: Our Opinion: South Bend Police reform proposals a good start to build upon
  • South Bend Tribune: City plans to implement ‘Operation Ceasefire’
  • WSBT: "City leaders: Lack of diversity plaguing South Bend Police Department"
  • South Bend Police Department website -- https://police.southbendin.gov/
  • South Bend Tribune: "Our Opinion: Recruiting minority police officers must remain a priority for South Bend"
  • Christina Brooks, South Bend's Diversity and Inclusion Officer, emails list of efforts made to combat racism in the PD
  • Ebony: "Q&A with Mayor Pete Buttigieg about his plans for communities of color"
  • City of South Bend: 2019 State of the City
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 2018 State of the City Address
  • WSBT: "Officers in South Bend are getting new body cameras and car cameras"
  • South Bend Police Department website: Transparency Hub
  • WSBT: "South Bend launches new data hub with crime stats"
  • Lawservicer.com "Indiana Code 36-8-3-4. Police officers and firefighters; discipline, demotion, and dismissal; hearings; appeals; administrative leave"