In an interview with NBC News, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg scolded a Black Lives Matter activist for disrupting a meeting of African American supporters in his hometown of South Bend, Ind.
In the incident, which was captured on video, a man identified as Igor Rodriguez interrupted South Bend Common Council member Sharon McBride as she was describing why she supports Buttigieg’s effort to secure the Democratic nomination and defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
There was just a major ruckus at this event with prominent African-American leaders that are supporting Mayor @PeteButtigieg. People who appear to be from Black Live Matter stole the mic from councilwoman Sharon McBride pic.twitter.com/OpONPL3bo5— Max Lewis (@MaxLewisTV) December 4, 2019
“Where are the black leaders who don’t have three-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice clothing?” Rodriguez shouted. He then rushed the front of the room and grabbed the microphone from McBride, shouting, “We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg?”
Calm was restored to the room when a group of speakers managed to wrangle the microphone away from Rodriguez.
Buttigieg was not at the event Wednesday, but told NBC Thursday that it was an “unfortunate” demonstration of the current political climate.
“It shows kind of where politics has come to, especially for somebody to interrupt an African American woman who was speaking about her truth and in her experience,” Buttigieg said. “But this is the climate that we’re in and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience, and in particular, when it comes to South Bend’s story.”
Staffers for the mayor took to Twitter after the meeting and blamed the incident on supporters of his rival in the Democratic race, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It’s deeply depressing that @BernieSanders’ supporters have gone from harassing @PeteButtigieg's staffers of color online to harassing our supporters of color in real life, but here we are https://t.co/pI4WkNXRhD— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) December 5, 2019
This is what Black folks who support Pete experience all the time on Twitter. White men, grabbing the mic, insulting us, calling us “uppity” “purchased” and “tokens” all in support of certain white male candidates. Careful YOUR racism is showing. https://t.co/XfqrLQQp2m— Nina Smith (@ninasophia81) December 5, 2019
The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment from NBC.