Ousted Minneapolis police chief now telling her side of the story

Chief Janeé Harteau was forced to resign last month.

Nearly three weeks after she stepped down as Minneapolis police chief, Janeé Harteau is opening up for the first time about the events that led to her departure.

In an interview with MPR News on Tuesday, Harteau addressed the biggest criticism she received in the wake of the Justine Damond shooting: that she took too long to return from her vacation after learning about the July 15 incident.

"I wasn't in a place where I could see what was happening," she explained to MPR in her first interview since resigning, adding that it took two plane trips and a three-hour car ride to return to Minnesota. 

Harteau also pointed out that she was the one to call in the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to handle the case, and said, "at no time did anybody say, 'This is bad. You need to come back, chief.'"

Nonetheless, criticism of Harteau's leadership mounted, and less than a week after the Damond shooting, Mayor Betsy Hodges asked for the chief's resignation.

Thus ended a 30-year law enforcement career with the MPD, which included serving as the city's first female and first openly gay police chief. 

Hodges has picked Harteau's second-in-command, Medaria Arradondo, to succeed her. 

Harteau's fall didn't come out of nowhere

First, people weren't just angry about Harteau's vacation. 

There was also outrage over the fact that the officers in the Damond case did not have their body cameras activated at the time of the incident. 

In a public blog post, Mayor Hodges seemed to place some blame on Harteau for this, saying the body cam failure was due to a gap in policies, a gap in training, a policy violation, or "some combination of these things."

And it wasn't the first public dust-up between the mayor and the chief. 

The most recent example began with Harteau's choice to promote a former police union leader who had publicly criticized the mayor in the past.

You can read more about that controversy – and the complicated history between Harteau and Hodges – here

What's next for the former chief?

As Harteau tells MPR, she's already been approached by recruiters from police departments across the country, but hopes to stay in Minnesota. 

The former chief did receive some vindication shortly after her fall. 

Last week, Harteau was named named the 2017 Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year, in recognition of the "extraordinary professional accomplishments ... over the course of her career." 

She'd been picked for the award in May.

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