The family of a black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in South Bend, Indiana, filed a federal lawsuit against the officer and the city, whose current mayor is 2020 Democrat Pete Buttigieg.
Eric Logan, a 54-year-old father of seven, was leaning inside a vehicle when South Bend Sergeant Ryan O'Neill approached him and asked if the vehicle belonged to him, according to the civil rights lawsuit filed by Logan's family on Wednesday.
The officer, who was responding to reports of a burglary, said Logan threatened him with a knife, but the victim’s family denied those claims and accused the officer of shooting him because of his race.
“The misconduct was objectively unreasonable and undertaken with willfulness and reckless indifference to the rights of others,” the lawsuit stated. “Defendant O’Neill violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights intentionally subjecting him to unlawful, unequal treatment on the basis of his race.”
The family also accused the city of failing to train officers or adequately punish them for misconduct.
The June 16 shooting drew national attention last week when Buttigieg skipped a handful of scheduled campaign stops to meet with angry community members in his hometown.
"You running for president and you want black people to support you, and vote for you…that's not going to happen," one resident told Buttigieg at a town hall meeting last Sunday.
The 37-year-old mayor sent out an email to supporters after the town hall, saying the heated tone of the meeting reflected the pain of black communities all across the country.
“It was a painful but needed conversation. And I feel overwhelmed and heartened by the number of people -- supporters and critics -- who have reached out and made it clear over the past week that they want to join hands and face these problems together,” the mayor wrote. “Our American values are at stake in the need for us to address the deep mistrust of police and governments among communities of color, which flows directly from the consequences of systemic racism.”
The family of Eric Logan is seeking undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages. O’Neill is currently on administrative leave.