February 7, 2020 - Buttigieg Asked to Explain Record on Racism as South Bend Mayor

At the eighth Democratic presidential debate, moderator Linsey Davis cites that under Buttigieg’s leadership as Mayor of South Bend, “a black resident in South Bend, Indiana was four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white resident,” a number higher than the rest of the nation. She goes on, “When talking about the problem on national terms, you’ve called it ‘evidence of systemic racism.’ You were mayor for eight years, so weren’t you, in effect, the head of the system, and how do explain that increase in black arrests under your leadership?” Buttigieg argues that drug arrests declined during his tenure but adds, “There is no question that systemic racism has penetrated to every level of our system, and my city was not immune. I took a lot of heat for discussing systemic racism with my own police department, but we’ve got to confront the fact that there is no escaping how this is part of all of our policies.” Davis goes on to correct Buttigieg by noting these arrests did go up during his tenure, pushing Buttigieg to respond more directly to her question. When Davis moves on to Warren, she asks if Buttigieg answered the question. “No,” Warren replies, adding, “You have to own up to the facts and it’s important to own up to the facts about how race has totally permeated our justice system.”