Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau has resigned at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges. The move comes less than a week after the death of Justine Damond, an unarmed woman who was shot to death by a Minneapolis officer after reporting a possible assault near her home.
A statement from the mayor commended Harteau for her 30 years of service to the Minneapolis Police Department, calling the chief's leadership "transformational."
In her own statement, Harteau said the shooting of Damond had caused her to do some reflecting, adding:
"Despite the MPD’s many accomplishments under my leadership over these years and my love for the City, I have to put the communities we serve first. I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. The city of Minneapolis deserves the very best."
Pressure building on Harteau
Chief Harteau was out of the state on vacation when Damond was shot last weekend. Harteau's first public comments about the case came Thursday, when she said the shooting "should not have happened."
She also said the officers who responded to Damond's 911 call should have had their body cameras turned on, but they didn't.
Anger at the police department had swelled earlier in July after an officer opened fire at a pair of dogs in the yard of a north side home while investigating a possible burglary. Surveillance video of the scene did not show the dogs charging the officer before he opened fire. The shooting led to an outpouring of public support for the family that owned the dogs, including donations to help cover vet bills.
At Friday's city council meeting more than one council member called on Harteau to resign, the Minnesota Daily reports.
On Friday evening, Hodges and Harteau issued statements simultaneously. Mayor Hodges said in part:
"I’ve lost confidence in the Chief’s ability to lead us further — and from the many conversations I’ve had with people around our city, especially this week, it is clear that she has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well."
Hodges said she will nominate Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo to be police chief. Arradondo is currently assistant chief.
Harteau and Hodges
While the two would offer support and praise for each other publicly, friction between Harteau and Hodges would bubble into the public spotlight over the years.
Poor communication during the Jamar Clark protests and a battle over a recent inspector's nomination were two of the most visible flare-ups.
You can read about Harteau's history with Minneapolis police, and her strained relationship with Hodges, in this story.
Hecklers end news conference
As Mayor Hodges announced Chief Harteau's resignation at a City Hall news conference Friday evening, she was interrupted by hecklers calling for her own resignation.
"You are ineffective as a leader and we want you to step aside just as Chief Harteau did," a man yelled at Hodges before the crowd began chanting "Bye Bye Betsy."
Aides to the mayor told reporters Hodges would return to take questions from the media once protesters had left the building.
Reactions are mixed
Just scroll through the comments section of the police department’s Facebook announcement. It’s pretty evenly split between people who are celebrating the news, and those who are upset by it.
Twitter is pretty much the same way. According to some posts, a crowd of people gathered in Loring Park Friday evening to march for Damond. They cheered when they heard the news of Harteau's exit.
Meanwhile, plenty of others support the former chief, saying she did nothing wrong. In fact, a bunch of people are putting the blame on Hodges.