Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg is under scrutiny for his handling of a police shooting at home.
Sunday’s fatal shooting of a black man by a white officer has quickly become one of the biggest tests of the 37-year-old Democrat’s presidential race.
His response has drawn mixed reviews, and highlighted tensions with South Bend’s African-American community.
The family of the victim have voiced complaints of his leadership.
Mr Buttigieg, a contender in the Democratic 2020 primary field, returned to South Bend after 54-year-old Eric Logan was shot after police say he lunged at an officer with a knife while he was caught breaking into cars.
The young mayor has said he would be open to an independent investigation and ordered that going forward, all officers be required to turn on their body cameras before interactions with members of the community.
Fans of “Mayor Pete” – a gay military veteran – have praised his return to the community during his campaign, while others say it reveals his struggle to attract support from African-American voters.
Tensions have been high with South Bend’s African-American community since he fired the city’s first-ever black chief of police during his first term in office in 2012, he noted in his memoir.
The mayor recalled the incident “affected my relationship with the African-American community in particular for years to come”.
At a swearing-in ceremony for six white police cadets on Wednesday, Mr Buttigieg said “years working to build trust between city leaders, public safety officers and members of the community we are charged to serve… are in jeopardy”, due to Sunday’s shooting.
More on ‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg
“We are facing the consequences not just of distant historical wrongs, but of things happening in our present – a seemingly constant series of stories and videos from around the country showing abuses that tarnish the badge and fuel mistrust,” he said.
The victim’s mother, Shirley Newbill, criticised his meeting with the family, saying he “ain’t done nothing”.
“He ain’t recognise me as the mother of nothing. He didn’t say nothing to me,” she said.
Mr Buttigieg is due to resume his campaign over the weekend, with events planned in the crucial state of South Carolina, but has said he is uncertain when he will begin again.
“Mayors, like presidents, have to do many things at once,” he told reporters on Wednesday.