The family of Eric Logan--who was shot dead on Father’s Day by South Bend police--on Wednesday accused the city in a federal civil-rights lawsuit of facilitating and encouraging “excessive deadly force and race-based policing” by failing to adequately train and discipline police.
The suit also names Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, who fired twice at Logan, hitting him once. O’Neill has not spoken publicly about the shooting, and an official from the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police did not return a message afterward.
Logan was confronted by O’Neill after allegedly breaking into multiple cars and stealing property from them. O'Neill says Logan came at him with a knife. On Monday, the FOP released a statement standing by O’Neill and criticizing Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“For Mayor and Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg to make disparaging remarks such as ‘All Police work and all of American life takes place in the shadow of racism’ is divisive,” the statement said. “Mayor Buttigieg’s focus on this incident is solely for his political gain and not the health of the city he serves.”
If anything, however, Buttigieg’s focus on the incident has hurt him politically, filling national TV screens with scenes of black residents demanding change.
Logan’s estate--represented legally now by Danielle Logan, one of the 54-year-old’s seven children--filed the suit without seeking specific damages. Family attorney Brian Coffman previously told The Young Turks he typically does not specify damages at the outset of a case.
Coffman, who also represented the family of Chicago police shooting victim Cedrick Chatman, told TYT he wants to use the legal process to seek answers about the shooting and about the South Bend Police Department (SBPD) and its history with race relations.
Coffman confirmed on Wednesday that the suit is expected to include allegations against O’Neill previously reported by TYT. Although allegations of racist rhetoric have been publicly disputed by the SPBD, TYT also spoke to one SBPD veteran who claimed to have witnessed O’Neill using excessive force against people of color.
County Prosecutor Ken Cotter earlier this week said he will seek the appointment of a special prosecutor on the case, to avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest. Buttiigieg has seconded the move.
Neither Buttigieg nor the SBPD responded immediately to a request for comment.
Jonathan Larsen is TYT’s managing editor. You can find him on Twitter @JTLarsen.
If you have tips on this subject or others you can contact us using Proton Mail at [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to stay on top of exclusive news stories from The Young Turks.