SOUTH BEND —A thickening cloud of rumors, claims and accusations has hung over city police and Mayor Pete Buttigieg's office since he announced two months ago that the FBI was investigating the police department's recording practices.
Buttigieg said the federal probe found police violated the Federal Wiretap Act while taping phone conversations inside the department. He subsequently demoted former Chief Darryl Boykins and fired Karen DePaepe, the department's longtime communications director.
Buttigieg even said David Capp, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, had told him and officials in his administration that Boykins and DePaepe would face felony charges if the mayor didn't make personnel changes in the police department.
Boykins and DePaepe maintained all along that they had done nothing illegal, and their attorneys dismissed the mayor's explanation.
Buttigieg has said on several occasions that he wished federal authorities would shed more light on the situation for the public's benefit. On Thursday, Capp did that in the form of letters to acting City Attorney Aladean DeRose and attorneys representing Boykins and DePaepe.
Capp summarized the investigation's timeline and findings, and confirmed he doesn't plan to file charges against anyone in the case. He didn't mention if Buttigieg's personnel changes were a factor in
"We have carefully reviewed this matter and the existing case law and
have discussed in detail with career experts in this area at the
Department of Justice. It is our opinion that no federal prosecution
is warranted," Capp wrote. "Our investigation into the past practice
and conduct of the SBPD in recording police phone lines is concluded
According to the letter, the U.S. attorney's office received
complaints in January that phone conversations in the police
department were being listened to and recorded unbeknown to the people
speaking on those lines.
Capp's office then asked the FBI to look into whether police had
violated the Wiretap Act.