This column will by necessity be short because no one is talking about who was doing the talking. As of today the story of who said what that was caught on tapes at the South Bend police department has a very distasteful ending. The police chief, a good man by all accounts, has been demoted and a dispatcher has quit. And in the wake of the Feds deciding there will be no indictments the tapes in question are under public scrutiny lock and key. There may be plenty of legal mumbo jumbo to back that up, but it is very unsettling to many people in South Bend.
Trying to put this story together is a lot like connecting the dots in a very large puzzle. I am a news outsider these days, so I have to rely on what has been reported and speculated in print and on the air.
Putting those bits and pieces together we are led to believe that some police officers were calling in to police headquarters and during some of those conversations made racially insensitive comments about the former chief. At some point those conversations were recorded.
This is where it all gets muddled. The mayor went public and said he demoted Chief Boykins in an attempt to avoid his indictment. My first reaction to that was the same as many of you. If someone possibly broke the law, then what does a demotion have to do with the legal aspect? But, two local lawyers with plenty of dealings over the years with the feds told me that it was possible. Their scenario (just speculating) was that the feds really didn’t want to add this case to their load and called the mayor and told him to get things straightened out.
As it turned out, the DA is not bringing charges, so maybe there is merit to that lawyerly speculation.
But two big questions need to be answered. First, did veteran police officers have the audacity to say such things in a phone call? If so, they should be fired for simple stupidity.
And question number two: Who tipped off the feds to begin with and why? Hmm? One way or another, eventually we are going to know. Then maybe some real house cleaning can get underway.