'Change starts with us;' Community members rally for justice following deadly shooting involving a SBPD officer
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Local activists and community members rallied for justice at a gun violence memorial Wednesday in the wake of a deadly shooting involving a South Bend police officer.
Dozens gathered for a memorial in memory of 54-year-old Eric Logan shot and killed by a police officer Sunday as well as other victims of gun violence in South Bend. Multiple city council members as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg were in attendance.
Their goal was to come up a solution for transparency between police and the community.
A part of that solution to build back the trust in South Bend Police Department is a call for an independent investigation from the Department of Justice. Activists said they want city leaders to ask for the investigation to put everything on the table.
Feelings of frustration, anger, and disappointment were shared by both community members and activists at the memorial.
“We ourselves as the civilians also need to stop sweeping things under the rug,” Wayne Hubbard said, he spoke out at the event advocating for change. “The malfunctioning of those cameras is not a forgivable thing considering they were put in years ago and the guarantees that came them.”
He thinks the community needs to be able to trust the South Bend Police Department following the death of Logan. Logan was shot by SBPD officer Ryan O’Neill who did not have his body cam on when shots were fired.
“They put out 170 body cams last year that each officer was supposed to wear you know and that officer did not,” Kalisha Harris said, a concerned community member who attended the event. “Change starts with us and the family that’s affect by Eric Logan’s death I send them my heartfelt condolences.”
The focus of the discussion wasn’t just on the department to do better but the community as a whole. Viola Sims lost her son to gun violence. She spoke out at the event to say she thinks more people need to speak up when shooting happens.
“It’s not being a snitch, it’s coming forward for justice,” Sims said. “I think a lot of the killings will stop if people will come forward and tell on the ones that pulled the trigger and killed someone.”
Whether it’s speaking up or more transparency that they want, those who came out Wednesday said they want their call for change to be heard.
“I don’t want this to become a situation where everyone blames the department as a whole because it’s not the whole,” Hubbard said. “I think they need to realize that if the citizens cannot trust the police, the police can’t trust the citizens.”