by Max Lewis | WSBT 22
Oct. 6, 2019
City and faith leaders along with more than 500 people packed a church on South Bend’s west side Sunday afternoon.
The main topic was how to address gun violence in South Bend. We sat in on the Peacemakers Summit, and the police shooting of Eric Logan back in June was a big focus.
There was quite a bit criticism lobbed at the South Bend Police Department.
However, the summit was more about assessing where South Bend is now and what work still needs to be done.
It was a packed house at the Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ on South Bend’s west side Sunday afternoon. The group Faith in Indiana brought city and faith leaders together in one room for a discussion about a topic that has become all too familiar.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, police chief Scott Ruszkowski and members of the South Bend Common Council were in attendance. The conversation quickly turned to the one the year’s most high-profile incidents.
“Sadly, what happened to Mr. Eric Logan and his family is probably a long legacy of racialized hair at the hands of the police here in South Bend and across our nation,” said SOT. “This must change, everybody.”
Attendees spoke about learning from incidents like the Eric Logan shooting and working to adopt policies that reduce violence and better relations with the police.
South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott spoke of a class he and other council members attended which showed how other cities are combating the same issues.
“It was really a revelation,” said Scott. “It was full day of hearing the work that they’re doing in a town the size of South Bend and I’m thinking, ‘If they can do it there, we can do it here.’”
Several public officials were asked to commit to reducing violence in the community, which they all did. Buttigieg laid out what the city has done and is working on doing, which includes the creation of a new position within the mayor’s office aimed at reducing violence.
“It will not be easy to keep the faith in these approaches when something bad happens in the midst of them,” said Buttigieg. “Something bad will happen and will test our faith, but what is a community good for if not helping one another do things that are not easy?”
The new position within Buttigieg’s office is subject to the approval of the Common Council.
The mayor’s budget also includes a $350,000 grant for violence reduction initiatives. The council will vote on that budget at next week’s meeting.