Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., has had strong showings in the first two Democratic presidential nominating contests. As he seeks to build support ahead of Nevada’s vote on Saturday, Mr. Buttigieg has sought to explain his record with black residents of South Bend, distinguish himself from his competitors on health care, and parry attacks on the issue of campaign finance. Here’s a fact check.
what the facts are
Mr. Buttigieg has cherry picked statistics, sometimes misleadingly, to defend his record on poverty and arrests among minorities in South Bend.
What Mr. Buttigieg said
“The reality is on my watch drug arrests in South Bend were lower than the national average and specifically to marijuana lower than in Indiana.”
— at the Democratic debate in February
This is misleading. African-Americans make up about a quarter of South Bend’s population, but account for more than than half of drug arrests in the city. Pressed by a debate moderator, Linsey Davis of ABC, on this racial disparity, Mr. Buttigieg deflected with a half-true claim.
Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign cited arrest rates across his second term. From 2016 to 2018 (data for 2019 is not yet available), 0.43 percent of black South Bend residents were arrested annually for marijuana possession (lower than the 0.48 percent figure for the state of Indiana) and 0.82 percent on general drug charges (lower than the national average of 0.83 percent and the state average of 0.9 percent).
But his claim of lower arrest rates is less true for his entire tenure. From 2012 to 2018, 0.43 percent of black residents were arrested for marijuana possession (roughly equivalent to the 0.42 percent figure for both Indiana and the nation) and 0.75 percent arrested on general drug charges (level with the state rate and lower than the 0.97 percent national rate).
Experts also said those are