By The Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A white Indiana police officer who fatally shot a Black man, sparking protests and roiling the presidential campaign of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has resigned, the local police union announced Monday.
The Fraternal Order of Police said Sgt. Ryan O’Neill’s resignation from the South Bend Police Department was due to stress and media attention given to last month’s shooting of Eric Logan. The union also pointed to “hateful things said on social media.”
In this June 23, 2019 file photo, South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski, left, speaks as Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg listens during a town hall community meeting, in South Bend, Ind. A white police officer who fatally shot a black man in the Indiana city where Buttigieg is mayor says he and his family never expected to be “thrown into the middle of a Presidential campaign.” Eric Logan’s fatal shooting by South Bend Sgt. Ryan O’Neill forced Buttigieg, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, off the campaign trail for days. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP, File)
“Sgt. O’Neill did his job and was forced to defend his own life from a convicted felon who was armed with an eight-inch hunting knife,” FOP president Harvey Mills said in a release. “We’re confident that the investigation into the shooting will determine that the action he took was justified based on the law and his training.”
Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski confirmed he received O’Neill’s resignation letter and that his departure was effective immediately.
Authorities have said O’Neill was responding to a report of a person breaking into cars on June 16 and confronted the 54-year-old Logan, and that the officer said he shot Logan after he refused orders to drop a knife.
A judge has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting, which authorities said was not recorded by O’Neill’s body camera. Protesters, in the wake of the shooting, have called for police reforms and questioned South Bend’s body camera and use of force policies.
The shooting prompted Buttigieg, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, to leave the campaign trail for several days to answer questions about public safety and race.
In a statement Monday, Buttigieg said efforts to strengthen trust between law enforcement and community members continue.
“We will await results of the independent criminal investigation, and apply any lessons learned to our work on the future of the Police Department and the community,” he said in the statement.
Logan’s brother, Tyree Bonds, said the family still will pursue a federal lawsuit that alleges O’Neill used excessive deadly force. The city of South Bend is also named in the lawsuit.