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“Treated like a token”: Black cop quits SBPD over diversity policy

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has obtained the resignation letter of a South Bend Police Officer who was extremely critical of the “diversity” narrative and push by the City of South Bend and its police department. Larry Harris, who is black himself, claims the department’s push to recruit officers of color has only increased division and had the opposite effect of the intended policy. Harris called out SBPD’s leadership with multiple examples in his resignation letter that was received by SBPD’s chiefs, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and the city’s human resources department. Even though the letter was submitted nearly a month ago, according to the author of the letter, nobody from the police department or Mayor’s Office has reached out to the former officer.

“Hiring and promoting people because of their skills and abilities, not because of the color of their skin tone, has been lost in the shuffle.” Harris’ May 10th resignation letter reads in part. “I hope you all get out of the way and do what is best for the community and, most importantly, the men and women who patrol every day.”

“I enjoyed my time at the South Bend Police Department. The job is what I have been dreaming about for years, and South Bend allowed that dream to become a reality. the training, relationships, and experience will accompany me wherever God leads me. However, to answer the question, ‘Why does he want to leave’ please see below:” Harris’ letter states.

The letter then goes on to describe an incident involving one of the department’s chiefs telling him he was hired because of the color of his skin.

“On September 30th, 2021, I sat down with (a department chief) after I completed an interview with Notre Dame Police the day before. He advised me that I was hired because I was a minority to make the department look good, and because of that, I could not leave. At that moment, I knew this department was not for me. I bring more than a brown face that looks good for political purposes on the Northwest side of town.” Harris’ letter continues.

“Furthermore, this was not the first time a supervisor reminded me that my brown skin and education were an anomaly. Lieutenant (redacted) told me I surprised him due to being educated and bright as the prior black men at the department had gone to prison. I suppose the white officers who have been fired and in trouble don’t count.” The letter reads.

RNM confirmed details regarding the the above statements by speaking with other officers who were aware of the incidents when they occurred as far back as 2021.

“This push for diversity is blowing back on them.” Harris told RNM. “They’re doing this to make themselves look good on the outside.”

Harris then explained officers, both white and black, are pigeonholed into certain positions based on the color of their skin. For instance, he claims he was pushed to apply to be a School Resource Officer and was offered to work the westside of town solely based of the color of his skin and how that would be perceived by the community.

“Anytime you have in law enforcement officers who look like the population they serve is good, right? They bring a different background of leadership and culture to the forefront so you can decrease crime.” “But when you go about it to just bring African Americans in to quiet the storm but don’t give them the ability to pursue their career how they want, that’s wrong.”

“Even if you look like Clifton French, you should be treated based on your quality of work.” Harris explained.

While Harris has a nearly impeccable personnel file with SBPD, RNM did dig into the officer’s history to see if there were any other reasons behind the resignation and letter. Sources within the department tell RNM he was under an investigation and on administrative leave for some time earlier this year. However, that investigation did not lead to anything of consequence or show any wrongdoing on the part of the officer. Due to the unsubstantiated conclusions, RNM will not go into details about the investigation.

RNM does know Harris was already planning to leave his job with SBPD prior to any internal affairs investigation and the department was aware of his pending departure.

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