The South Bend Police Department is under fire following the release of a video on which officers are heard laughing and referencing the comedic Ku Klux Klan scene from the 2012 blockbuster “Django Unchained.”
Marko Mosgrove, 21, livestreamed the moment several officers, armed with guns and shields, searched his home in the northern Indiana city after he was arrested Wednesday. Mosgrove had set up his cellphone to record before going to his front door to surrender to officers. Court documents obtained by the South Bend Tribune show Mosgrove faces burglary and intimidation charges stemming from a Dec. 3 shooting.
Authorities have also charged him with resisting law enforcement and carrying a handgun without a license in the incident.
Once officers realized Mosgrove’s phone was filming, they flipped the phone on its face, causing the screen to go dark.
The audio would continue broadcasting throughout the search, capturing officers as they quoted a scene from “Django” in which hooded Klansmen bicker amongst themselves before riding off to kill the eponymous title character, played by Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx.
“You know what’s a good idea for your kid? Is a skull mask in case you have to shoot a guy,” one officer begins, chuckling.
“Dude, this is how you rob banks, alright?” another replies.
Moments later, an officer is heard imitating a KKK member struggling to see through his ill-fitting hood.
“I can’t see f—–g sh-t out of this thing!” he says.
A second officer responds by asking if the quote is from the movie “The Boondock Saints.”
“No, ‘Django Unchained,’” the other officer replies. The officer proceeds to quote from the infamous KKK scene, mimicking a Klansman who went to bat for his wife after she’d spent hours making their hoods. Another cop joins in, quoting a Klansman who was trying to play peacemaker.
“I think we all agree that these were a nice idea, although poorly executed,” he says.
The damning clip comes as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg continues to try to gain ground in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency. Many have called on him to answer for the incident, further highlighting his struggle to gain support with African-American voters.
The video also garnered a flood of angry reactions online, with many calling for the officers involved to be held accountable.
“That’s disgusting and incredibly #racist,” one Twitter user wrote. “I’m however not too surprised, but that’s something that shouldn’t be normalized. This man should be removed and people like this have no place in law enforcement nor society.”
“Big game to these cops,” another chimed in. “Seconds after entering the home they’re cracking jokes and making pop references. Did they forget what the raid was for?”
One user argued that while the “Django” Klan scene was quite hilarious, “there is a time and place. Quoting a movie about klan hoods during a raid on a black man is not the type of standard we hold or should be holding our law enforcement too. This type of sh-t is why police get the bad rap they do…”
So far, none of the officers involved in Mosgrove’s arrest or reenactment of the KKK scene have been identified.
South Bend Police provided the following statement to Atlanta Black Star:
The video is being investigated by the South Bend Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards. The department is taking this matter very seriously.
Watch more in the video below.
Wow. @PeteButtigieg’s Police Department in South Bend were caught on tape quoting a KKK Scene from “Django Unchained” while arresting a Black man.
“I can’t see fu**king sh*t out of this thing!,” the officer says while laughing, mimicking the KKK scene from the movie." pic.twitter.com/g7oJ2gDRYt
— Shaun King (@shaunking) December 19, 2019