South Bend police officer accuses chief, mayor of misconduct

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A South Bend police officer wants his boss placed on administrative leave.

Theo Robert spoke out during Monday’s common council meeting, accusing Police Chief Ron Teachman and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of misconduct.

Robert has been vocal about what he says are serious problems in the department ever since he was suspended last year.

The suspension came after he conducted unauthorized investigations into cases the department was already looking into.

Now, Robert’s accusing Teachman of wrongdoing.

“We are requesting that Deputy [Mayor] Mark Neal – effective tomorrow, June 10 – relieve Teachman of his duties as chief of police and place him on administrative leave until an exhaustive and thorough investigation is completed against his acts of misconduct,” He said during Monday’s council meeting.

Robert wants a third party to conduct the probe.

While Robert was the only officer to speak, two sergeants from the South Bend Police Department accompanied him to the podium to show their support.

Robert claims there is a culture of unfair treatment and racial discrimination within the department, pointing to recent promotions as evidence. He says the positions weren’t openly advertised, so not everyone within the department was able to apply. Robert also says few minorities have been promoted since Teachman took over.

“The officers who received promotions are not in question, but method by which they were created,” he said. “They were not open to competitive bid by other officers.”

He also requested the council investigate Buttigieg’s office for misconduct, saying the mayor gave Teachman “unrestricted power” and “unconditional authority.”

Mark Neal released a statement in response to the comments, saying: “The City of South Bend supports diversity and fosters an inclusive and supportive work environment for all employees. We also take all complaints seriously and are committed to investigating allegations and taking appropriate action if it is warranted.”

Council President Oliver Davis says launching an investigation into the accusations is beyond the council’s authority. He says they’ll likely write a letter to the Board of Public Safety asking them to look into the complaints.

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