‘Racism is not going to help’: Buttigieg shuts down comment at campaign event

Buttigieg: 'Racism is not going to help us get out of this'

CARROLL, Iowa (Gray News) - Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg responded to a man's comment on the black community and police by saying "racism is not going to help."

The South Bend, Ind. Mayor attended a barbecue Thursday while campaigning in Iowa, which holds the first contest for the 2020 election. An attendee offered Buttigieg a “solution” to issues with residents and police, saying “tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crime and doing drugs.”

"Sir, I think that racism is not going to help us get out of this," Buttigieg replied.

He cited a black person’s higher likelihood of being incarcerated than a white person for the same crime as evidence of systemic racism. And he said it makes it harder for good law enforcement officers to do their job.

Buttigieg cut off the man when he tried to speak again, saying people being treated the same by the criminal justice system would make it easier for everyone to live in the country.

"Racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement," he said.

Buttigieg has faced criticism on police relations in his hometown after a white officer fatally shot a black man in June. A special prosecutor was assigned to investigate the case.

Copyright 2019 Gray Television Group, Inc. CNN contributed to the report. All rights reserved.