After a state police investigation, a white former South Bend police officer will not be charged with the shooting death of Eric Logan, a black man, last June. However, former Sgt. Ryan O’Neill was charged with multiple felonies for soliciting a prostitute one month before the shooting.
South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski says he was shocked when a whistleblower complaint came to his attention last July. It alleged that O’Neill paid a prostitute for a sexual favor while in uniform. When the complaint surfaced, O’Neill was already on paid leave following the shooting death of Eric Logan.
“I mean, you can use your imagination,” he says. “I was flabbergasted, I was sick to my stomach, just on the allegation alone.”
O’Neill resigned soon after being confronted with the complaint. Chief Ruszkowski says, at that point, there was nothing he could do but turn over evidence to state investigators.
“Anything that could or would be punitive, I can’t do,” he says.
But regarding the investigation into the shooting of Eric Logan, special prosecutor Ric Hertel says there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that O’Neill had used force inconsistent with the police department's policy.
“They are taught to meet deadly force with deadly force,” he says. “A knife is determined to be a deadly weapon.”
At a press conference Friday, South Bend Mayor James Mueller says he finds it extremely frustrating that O’Neill’s body camera was turned off during the incident.
“Without new evidence we may never know the full truth about Eric Logan's death,” he says. “This will understandably continue to cause anger and pain in our community and does not help build the trust that we need."
After the report, many in the community are outraged. Mmoja Ajabu says he feels that, especially after the prostitution charges, O’Neill’s testimony about the shooting is unreliable.
“If the people that’s enforcing the law are breaking the law and then when it comes time for the people to hold them accountable, and then they get away with breaking the law,” he says. “You know there’s something wrong.”
Faith In Indiana is organizing for a march on the County-City Building Saturday afternoon to express outrage and call for the adoption of a discipline plan for the South Bend Police Department.