The fatal shooting has become a political headache for Buttigieg in the midst of his presidential campaign, even though he has tried to address it on the local level.
“It’s unfair to the Logan family, it’s unfair to the taxpayers of South Bend, Indiana, and his friends as well that this officer is receiving his pay from taking a life from this community,” said Vernado Malone, founder of Justice for South Bend said during a press conference on Tuesday, ABC News reports.
“We are asking the mayor and he has a duty to make a recommendation that Sgt. O’Neill be placed on leave, pending investigation, without pay,” Malone said. “The mayor has said he’s with the Logan family, and he wants change in this community. This here is the time, mayor.”
“This is the time, Mayor Pete, to step up and make your own demands and changes,” he said. “You don’t need a police board or anybody else. We are asking you, as our mayor, to obey this demand that we will be giving you today.”
Logan, 54, was killed June 16 when O’Neill fired his weapon during an incident that took place as the officer followed up on a report of car break-ins in the downtown area.
The officer defended shooting Logan saying he confronted him in a parking lot and only shot him after he threatened him with a knife. But this remains unconfirmed because O’Neill did not have his body camera on at the time of the incident.
The family of the victim strongly opposes O’Neill’s narrative of events. The family has since filed a civil rights lawsuit.
Buttigieg does not have the power to directly revoke O’Neill’s pay, and he told ABC News on Tuesday that South Bend’s Public Review Board is charged with making that decision.
“It’s a board of safety. It’s five civilians appointed by the mayor, who meet and receive evidence and in a transparent and accountable process, decide on matters like this,” he said. “I know that some people imagine that a mayor sits up there in the office and decides who’s in trouble, who’s fired, who goes up and who goes down.”
“But we have a legal system here and it’s constraining and it’s frustrating,” he added.