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.

Next Up

Mortensen becker-finn

Shakopee GOPer posts DFL lawmaker's personal cell number on Facebook

Rep. Erik Mortensen has been accused of 'doxxing' Twin Cities lawmaker Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.

derek chauvin

Minneapolis scraps plan to pay 'influencers' to share information during Chauvin trial

The plan to pay influencers to share city-approved messages during the trials of the officers charged in George Floyd's death drew criticism.


Toddler called 911 and said 'baby' was dead, turned out to be her doll

We're checking into whether the doll is named 'Chucky.'

Target Center

NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 will be held in Minneapolis

The NCAA unveiled the logo for the 2022 Final Four on Monday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.


Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in St. Paul Sunday evening

The incident occurred near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Atlantic Street.


Farmington man killed in rear-end crash

The man was stopped waiting to turn left when he was hit from behind.

vaccine, covid

More than half of Minnesota's 65+ population has received a vaccine dose

Gov. Tim Walz has stated that 70% of seniors will need to have received at least one vaccine does before the state can expand eligibility.

dan dulhane crop

Twin Cities radio personality Dan Culhane has died

He was battling multiple myeloma when he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead in Minneapolis from 'act of violence'

A woman was also fatally shot Sunday morning.


Ousted Minneapolis police chief starts new career as a consultant

She'll be relying on her experiences in leadership and public speaking

Ex-Minneapolis police chief might be able to speak her mind about Mayor Hodges

It sounds like both women are willing to lose the non-disparagement clause.

Tim Dolan's last day as Minneapolis police chief Friday

After five years on the job, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan is stepping down from his post Friday. Dolan will be replaced Assistant Chief Janee Harteau, who will be the first woman to front the Minneapolis Police Department.

Minneapolis mayor sued by police lieutenant whose promotion she blocked

Hodges says the suit is baseless and only about influencing the election.


Councilors: 'We're going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department'

There are growing calls within city leadership to disband the current police force.