More than 350,000 people have signed a petition calling for an independent investigation into the death of Eric Logan, who was killed a year ago this week by a White South Bend, Indiana police officer. City officials have been criticized for doing very little in the aftermath of Logan's killing, especially after the death of another Black man in police custody, George Floyd. While there have been some changes in South Bend, including the decision to delay a pay raise for police officers last week, many say there is still work to be done.
After Logan was killed, activists took a role in pushing for reforms in the city. There were several meetings between officials and the public, who asked for stricter use of body cameras, tougher penalties for police officers who violate rules and training on racial and cultural bias, reports the South Bend Tribune. There was also a call for the creation of a citizen review board to investigate complaints against the police. However, many of these changes have not been implemented. The city's Board of Public Safety was also set to approve new disciplinary guidelines in January, but that has been pushed back for six months.
The South Bend government also hired the Chicago firm 21st Century Policing Solutions to study the department for $18,000, but the findings of the report have never been released. The Police Department has also failed to add new Black police officers. There are only 18 Black officers, making up just 8 percent of the force in a city where 26 percent of the population is Black.
Mayor James Mueller told the Tribune he understands residents have grown impatient but said reforming public safety is a "marathon, not a sprint." The city is "hopeful" to get the findings from the independent study "as soon as possible," and they want to have the report before making changes. Meanwhile, more than 350,000 people have signed a Change.org petition started last year, calling for an independent investigation into Logan's killing.
Logan was killed on Father's Day, June 16, 2019. Ryan O'Neill, who was a police sergeant at the time, arrived at an apartment complex parking lot at 3:30 a.m., responding to reports of someone trying to break into cars. O'Neill found Logan inside a car and called out to him, police said. Logan had a hunting knife in his hand as he approached O'Neill, who fired twice, hitting Logan in the torso. O'Neill did not turn on his body camera, so there was no video evidence of the encounter.
O'Neill resigned in July 2019 during the internal review of the shooting. In March, a special prosecutor ruled O'Neill was justified in his actions because Logan presented a "threat and imminent danger." However, O'Neill has been charged in an unrelated case because he allegedly paid a woman for a sex act while on duty weeks before Logan was killed. O'Neill pleaded not guilty to charges of ghost employment, official misconduct and public indecency.
Meanwhile, Logan's family continues to mourn their loss. "He is not here and I just miss him," his mother, Shirley Newbill, told WSBT. His sister, Charlotte Logan, said Logan "did not deserve to be killed" and believes her brother has not gotten justice yet. Mueller should "push harder" for the special prosecutor to release more evidence to the public, Charlotte said.