Former Public Safety Board President speaks out about Teachman investigation

The former president of South Bend's Board of Public Safety spoke out Monday night about the mayor's decision not to discipline the police chief after an Indiana State Police Investigation.

Chief Ron Teachman was accused of failing to back Lieutenant David Newton up when a large fight broke out at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in April.

Buttigieg says Teachman was on his way to or inside the bathroom when the fight started. When Teachman outside, Buttigieg says the fight was over.

The incident was brought to light by Rev. Greg Brown at a common council meeting. The council eventually sent the matter to the Board of Public Safety, who asked state police to investigate.

That investigation wrapped up in September. After reading through the ISP report, Buttigieg decided not to discipline Teachman.

While the decision was up to him, he did meet with the Board of Public Safety since they were initially asked to look into the matter.

Former Board President Pat Cottrell disagreed with Buttigieg's decision not to discipline Teachman and resigned the same day over the issue.

Speaking before the council Monday, Cottrell asked them to hold an investigatory hearing to get more information about what happened in April at the King Center.

He says if the council looked into Teachman's statements about what happened that night, they would agree Buttigieg should have asked for the chief's resignation.

Cottrell says, contrary to Buttigieg's claims, one other member of the board thought Teachman should lose his job over the way he responded. Cottrell says a third board member pointed out the ways Teachman acted incorrectly, but didn't suggest discipline.

"The mayor based his decision on politics," Cottrell said. "You see, to do what two board of safety members recommended, to ask for Chief Teachman's resignation,would be to admit he - our mayor- had made a mistake in hiring this man. Who is unfit, in my opinion, to serve as chief."

Buttigieg has said repeatedly he stands by his decision and he will not release the ISP report because it's a personnel matter.

Lt. David Newton spoke to the council earlier in October and asked them to subpoena the report. He also claimed Buttigieg's decision was politically motivated.

Council President Derek Dieter says the issue will go back to the council's health and public safety committee.

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