South Bend Tribune Report
Jun 21, 2019
SOUTH BEND — St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says he is considering whether to ask for a special prosecutor to handle the investigation into the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan.
Cotter “has not made a final determination on whether requesting a special prosecutor is appropriate,” according to a news release his office issued Thursday afternoon.
Since the shooting, local faith leaders, community organizers and members of the South Bend Common Council have called for an independent prosecutor to oversee the case.
An independent prosecutor is typically one brought in from an outside county to lead an investigation to help mitigate concerns about local bias.
The St. Joseph County chapter of Faith in Indiana, composed of religious and community leaders, is one of the groups that supports an outside prosecutor. A leader of the chapter, Andre Stoner, who also works for Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc., in South Bend, said the call stems from a “lot of mistrust” in the local criminal justice system.
“That’s a reflection of how many people in the community, especially the African-American community, feel,” he said.
St. Joseph County’s Metro Homicide Unit, overseen by the county prosecutor, is handling the investigation into whether criminal charges are warranted in Logan’s death.
Cotter served as an independent prosecutor in 2017, in the death of Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black man who was shot by two Indianapolis police officers. Cotter ultimately decided not to file charges against the officers, saying there was insufficient evidence to refute the officers’ statements that they feared for their lives when they shot Bailey after a brief chase and car crash.
Logan, 54, was shot and killed about 3:30 a.m. Sunday by South Bend police Sgt. Ryan O’Neill. The officer was responding to reports of a man breaking into cars downtown and has said Logan approached him while carrying a knife after he confronted Logan in a parking lot.