Things got off to a rocky start at the Carroll County Democrats picnic when a man from Omaha, Nebraska told Pete Buttigieg he had a solution for dealing with the current racial tensions in South Bend, Indiana.
“Just tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crimes and doing drugs,” he said.
The crowd of about 100 local Democrats booed and started to heckle the man.
“Uh, sir, I think that racism is not going to help us get out of this,” Buttigieg replied.
“No, just stop committing crimes, it has nothing to do with race,” the man shot back.
Buttigieg calmly replied about disparities in the criminal justice system.
“The fact that a black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the exact same crime is evidence of systemic racism. It is evidence of systemic racism, and, with all due respect, sir, racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their job, too,” Buttigieg said. “It is a smear on law enforcement.”
The man later identified himself as a conservative blogger and attorney from Omaha. Local Democrats told Starting Line that he has come to several events in Carroll, including a Beto O’Rourke event, to heckle or ask questions like this one. After the event, the man spoke with some reporters while voicing concern that he thought one journalist, who was a man of color, was “smirking” at him.
“Sir, when black people and white people are treated the same by the criminal justice system, it will be easier for white people and black people to live in this country, and it will be easier for law enforcement to do their job,” Buttigieg concluded after the man continued to repeat his suggestion. “But racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement.”
This was Buttigieg’s third event in Iowa during the 4th of July week. Earlier in the day, he marched in the Storm Lake parade, and held a very well-attended town hall forum in Sioux City the night before.
Buttigieg later took questions about trade policy, foreign development aid, the Renewable Fuel Standard and how he’d defeat Donald Trump, among other issues.
by Pat Rynard