South Bend officer who Teachman is accused of not backing up speaks out

After months of silence, the South Bend police officer Chief Ron Teachman was accused of not backing up, spoke out Monday night.

Lieutenant David Newton was with Teachman in April at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center when a fight broke out.

Newton says when he was alerted to the situation, Teachman had just left for the bathroom. So, Newton went outside to check it out himself.

"I was told there was a fight outside in the parking lot and that people were going to their cars to get guns," Newton said. "When I went outside, there were approximately 50 people in the parking lot engaged in a fight. And, I didn't know if they had weapons or not."

Newton says he ran to his car and requested other officers respond to the scene. But, he got no response because they were all dispatched to other calls.

So, he says he positioned himself between the large fight and the children who were playing nearby. He estimates the brawl lasted about five minutes -- during which he never saw Teachman.

"I did not know what was going on except for what was in front of me," Newton said. "I didn't see him until it was all over. Until the director of the center came outside to check on me to make sure I was still alive."

Newton says Teachman said nothing to him after the fight.

Now, he's asking the council to use their subpoena powers to obtain a copy of the Indiana State Police report about the incident.

ISP turned the report over to Mayor Pete Buttigieg last month, who decided no discipline was necessary.

That decision is one the former president of the Board of Public Safety disagreed with, so he stepped down hours later.

"I also believe nothing would be done to correct this possible neglect because of political embarrassment," Newton told the council Monday.

He said he would have spoken out sooner, but feared retaliation from leaders in the South Bend Police Department. Newton says he will likely be reprimanded after speaking out in front of the council.

Council President Derek Dieter says they're talking to their attorney about how to proceed. He says they could take action as early as next week.

"We do have subpoena powers, we're going to look at that," Dieter said. "I think that's probably what will happen."

Buttigieg has said repeatedly he won't release the ISP report because it's a personnel issue. He also says the situation has been overblown.

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