A group of prominent black supporters of candidate Pete Buttigieg gathered in South Bend, Indiana Wednesday night but their rally turned into a scuffle after a group of Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted a speaker.
A black city councilwoman named Sharon McBride was expressing her support for Buttigieg from a podium in the front of the room when a Hispanic protester in a BLM t-shirt began shouting: “Where are the black leaders who don’t have 3-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice clothes? Where are these black leaders? Who chose these people as black leaders?”
People in the crowd shouted back, “Let her talk!” But the BLM protester kept going.
“These black leaders are here to talk about Pete Buttigieg but there’s black people [who] are having a crisis because of police violence,” he yelled.
At that point, an elderly woman stood up and raised her cane as if to hit the protester over the head. Others in the crowd pulled her back. Meanwhile, the protester used the momentary disruption to snatch the microphone away from the podium. Then he began shouting into the microphone.
“Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg? What kind of nonsense is this?”
A man in the crowd wrestled the microphone away from the protester but he simply began shouting louder as he was shoved roughly toward the back door: “This is a farce! This is a farce!”
Finally, the other protesters in the back of the room began chanting “This is a farce” and clapping as he was removed.
This morning, Buttigieg responded to the situation last night:
“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, the mayor of South Bend, told NBC News about the Wednesday night incident.
“But this is the climate that we’re in,” he continued, “and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience.”
The Buttigieg campaign clarified that the woman who’d raised the cane was a supporter who’d appeared in a recent campaign ad:
Many of you have asked who last night’s hero was.
May I introduce you to Ms. Bernice Freeman, Mother of South Bend and Wielder of Canes. Unbought, Unbossed, and Unbothered.
— Rodericka Applewhaite 🚊 (@Rodericka) December 5, 2019
As for the protesters, Buttigieg supporters claimed they were made up of Bernie Sanders supporters:
Here is the man who interrupted the black lawmaker and said he wanted to hear "from a real black woman." pic.twitter.com/GKiMpCsEFD
— Christopher J. Hale (@chrisjollyhale) December 5, 2019
Here’s Buttigieg’s senior communications advisor calling this a case of harassment by Bernie Bros:
But some Bernie supporters claimed this was a smear:
Absolutely pathetic that Buttigieg’s senior advisor is trying to smear Bernie. These were Black Lives Matter protesters. This is a bad candidate trying to distract from his near negligible levels of black & hispanic support. https://t.co/NSWZLSiDgf
— Pat the Berner🌹 (@PatTheBerner) December 5, 2019
But there’s more:
I think this might be her… pic.twitter.com/veOcojhC3u
— Kansas City For Democracy (@KCforPete) December 5, 2019
This white lady apparently doesn’t know that #MayoPeteMontgomeryWhitebreaddingham was out of town when this rally happened. He was never expected to show up for this. In any case, she claims Bernie people were just there to support BLM (notice the hammer and sickle after her name):
Here’s what happened: Pete set up a press conference to show how much black people in South Bend love him. The conference was announced. BLM organized protest. Anarchists, Bernie folks, unaffiliated folks came out in a show of solidarity with BLM. This was not some Bernie psy-op. pic.twitter.com/wpk1MLbm2B
— Tabula Rasa ☭ 🌹🔥 (@indianaboognish) December 5, 2019
I don’t know if the Bernie people were there to undercut Buttigieg or simply to promote BLM. Maybe it was a bit of both? Whatever the case, there are clearly factions on the left that are battling for the black vote. In this case that turned into shouting and wrestling over a microphone. The far left is taking the no-platforming tactics usually reserved for conservative speakers on college campuses and using them against black supporters on the moderate left. Here’s the video: