Buttigieg Rebukes Man at Campaign Event for Insisting He Tell Black People to 'Stop Committing Crime and Doing Drugs'

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg rebuked an attendee at an Iowa campaign stop on Independence Day for insisting the South Bend, Indiana, mayor tell the black residents of his hometown to "stop committing crimes and doing drugs."

Buttigieg, who has been mayor of South Bend since 2012, took questions from attendees Thursday at the Carroll County Democratic Party barbeque. One man, who identified himself as Dave Begley, proposed a new tactic to supposedly help the 2020 hopeful tackle the tensions between "police and the black community" in his hometown.

"Mayor Pete, there has been some controversy in South Bend between the police and the black community, and I have a solution for you, and I'd like you to make a comment on my proposal," Bagley said. "Just tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crime and doing drugs."

The question immediately drew resounding boos from the crowd.

"Sir, racism is not going to help us get out of this," Buttigieg responded, before the man insisted that his question "has nothing to do with race."

Buttigieg went on to explain the ongoing "systemic racism" that exists in America. "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," the mayor said, adding that "racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their jobs."

"It is a smear on law enforcement," he said.

After the crowd began cheering for Buttigieg's answer, the mayor waited for the applause to end before continuing. "Sir, when black people and white people are treated the same under the criminal justice system," he said. "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 jobs."

"Racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement," Buttigieg concluded.

Begley expressed resentment of Buttigieg's response following the incident and defended his question as not racist, according to Politico. He also reportedly revealed to journalists that he is a writer for the conservative Power Line Blog and attended the event so he could report on it.

Begley's question came days after the first Democratic presidential debates were held in Miami, Florida last week. During round two of the debate, Buttigieg was confronted with questions about his hometown's handling of crime and race, particularly in light of the recent shooting of a black man by a police officer.

Buttigieg, who has vowed to dedicate time to improving race relations in South Bend, has struggled to receive support from black voters. A new poll on Monday found that the mayor has continued to draw zero support from black Democratic voters.

Pete Buttigieg Independence Day
Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to the press while attending the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention on July 2, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Buttigieg on Thursday rebuked a man at his campaign event for insisting he tell the black people in his South Bend community to "stop committing crimes and doing drugs.” Scott Olson/Getty
Buttigieg Rebukes Man at Campaign Event for Insisting He Tell Black People to 'Stop Committing Crime and Doing Drugs' | Politics