Some Black leaders in South Bend, Indiana organized an event in support of their Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, but things quickly went wrong when an activist wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt interrupted and grabbed the mic.
Sharon McBride, a city council member, was one of the city’s Black leaders who organized the event aimed at creating more momentum among Buttigieg and Black voters – something he’s struggled with throughout his campaign, the Washington Post reports.
As McBride began to speak to attendees at the event on Wednesday (Dec. 4), a man, wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, who she said is a local activist and is not Black, grabbed the mic out of her hands and began speaking, the Washington Post reports.
“Where are the Black leaders who don’t have three-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice clothing?” he asked. “Who chose these people as Black leaders?”
McBride called his outburst “demeaning” and “a form of bigotry,” the Washington Post reports.
“People can have their opinions and their views,” McBride told the Washington Post. “But for them to be disrespectful, when it comes to snatching mics and shoving, is just a disgrace to our city.”
Before grabbing the mic, the man began shouting as McBride discussed Buttigieg’s efforts to build affordable housing in her ward, the Washington Post reports.
He was yelling about the city’s long-standing fight over a police wiretap, according to the Washington Post.
“There is a police crisis in this town,” he boomed, the Washington Post reports. “Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg? What kind of nonsense is this?”
The Washington Post reports, when he took the microphone off the lectern, shifting away from a woman in the audience who seemed to rush at him with her cane, at least a dozen demonstrators joined him in chanting, “This is a farce!”
McBride said Wednesday’s event was intended to counteract the “false media narrative” about Buttigieg struggling to find support among the Black community of South Bend, the Washington Post reports.
Reports have indicated that Buttigieg has faced scrutiny over his record serving the Black community in South Bend, including his support of housing policies that have reportedly displaced African-Americans from their homes and disputed claims that he’s cut the city’s Black poverty rate in half, the Washington Post reports.
In June, Black residents booed Buttigieg at a town hall, following the fatal shooting of a Black man in South Bend by a cop. Attendees of the town hall called Buttigieg a “liar,” the Washington Post reports.
“You wake up every morning and you hear on the national news that there’s no minority support in South Bend,” said McBride, who recently accompanied the candidate on a campaign trip to Allendale County, S.C. “But there is support. Tonight was about some African-American leaders speaking in support of Mayor Pete and sharing our experiences.”
Buttigieg was not in attendance at the event, but one of his top aides and several staffers from his campaign did attend, the Washington Post reports.
Nina Smith, Buttigieg’s traveling press secretary, tweeted about the protest, writing, “White men, grabbing the mic, insulting us, calling us ‘uppity’ ‘purchased’ and ‘tokens’ all in support of certain white male candidates,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “Careful YOUR racism is showing.”
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)