Chuck Todd Grills Buttigieg: Results Don’t Look Like You Addressed Racial Inequities in South Bend
CHUCK TODD: I guess the question comes with, when did you see these inequities in the African American community and how quickly did you address them. I think about during your tenure, Ferguson happened.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah.
CHUCK TODD: Okay, outside of St. Louis. And when Ferguson happened, many mayors said, "We've got to look at our policing practices. We've got to make sure our police departments look like the community --
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah.
CHUCK TODD -- that they're policing." The evidence in South Bend is questionable whether it looks like -- I think you make the argument that you did respond. The results don't look like that.
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well why do you think that we implemented implicit bias training? Why do you think that we led the region in transparency in reporting cases of the use of force, seeing what had happened in Ferguson? Why do you think I appointed an African American majority on the civilian board overseeing our police department? And you know what? In terms of results, use-of-force incidents went down. In my second term, arrest rates for black residents on drug charges were lower than they were across the state and across the country. Is the record mixed? Of course it is, because the reality is so tough and so complex. And we had a lot of issues to deal with in my eighth year, just as we did in my first year, but no one can say that we were not intentional and that we do not have results to show for it.
CHUCK TODD: Can you point to a mistake that you'll admit now that you wish you handled an incident differently, whether it's the firing of the police chief, the fire chief. Is there any of these incidents you wish you could have handled differently?
PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, certainly in the way in my first few weeks, when I was presented with the situation that led me to part ways with the police chief, I would have handled that differently. It was the last time I've ever fired somebody who reported to me without sitting down for a face-to-face conversation. That was a lesson I learned the hard way.