South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) on Tuesday told a Chicago audience that "it is not anti-police to be pro-racial justice." Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been under fire from activists who have demanded his resignation since a June 16 officer-involved shooting, the Hill reports.

The officer involved in the shooting was responding to a call about vehicle break-ins when he made contact with a man who reportedly had a knife.

"One of the things that I really need to continue conveying to our police officers is that it is not anti-police to be pro-racial justice," Buttigieg said in Chicago while speaking to press at the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention Business Breakfast. 

"On the contrary, we absolutely can and absolutely must be both," he continued. "You could argue that no one has a greater role to play when it comes to community trust and policing than the police themselves."

Buttigieg has struggled to gain traction among black voters, a key demographic in the Democratic primary electorate, and he has faced backlash from his constituents for his response to the shooting.