An event hosted by African American leaders in support of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg descended into chaos on Wednesday, when an activist wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt — who appeared to be white — hijacked the event by screaming, grabbing the microphone after distracting a speaker, and chanting, “This is a farce!”
What are the details?
The gathering was in held South Bend, Indiana, where Buttigieg is the mayor. While South Bend city council member Sharon McBride attempted to deliver her remarks to the crowd, the unidentified protestor shouted, “Where are the black leaders that don’t have three-piece suits, leather jackets, and nice jewelry? Who chose these people as black leaders?”
“Who chose these people as the black leaders?” the man asked again. “Who organized this? Why are you talking about Pete Buttigieg?”
Several clips of the incident have circulated online, and show that at one point, an elderly woman raised her walking cane and appeared ready to give the heckler a beating. As Councilwoman McBride rushed to try to stop the possible attack, the activist rushed the lectern, grabbed the microphone, and continued his tirade before other attendees were able to wrestle the microphone away from him.
According to BuzzFeed News, who had a reporter at the event, there were a dozen or so Black Lives Matter protestors “who lined the back wall” and participated in chanting, “This is a farce!”
A number of Buttigieg supporters claimed on Twitter that the protestors were actually activists who support rival Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Buttigieg was not in attendance at the event.
Buttigieg has faced criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement for saying in 2015 that “all lives matter.” Earlier this year, the mayor told Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network that he regrets uttering the phrase, and emphasized the importance of repeating “again and again that Black Lives Matter,” NBC News reported.