Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has given her resignation following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Australian woman by an Somali officer.
Harteau has stated that the woman did not need to die.
The chief’s departure comes less than a week after the fatal police shooting of Justine Damond, a 40-year-old Australian woman. On Saturday, Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home in south Minneapolis, and one of the responding officers, Mohamed Noor, shot her from the squad car. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.
She said, “Last Saturday’s tragedy as well as some other recent incidents have caused me to engage in deep reflection. The recent incidents do not reflect the training and procedures we developed as a department. 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,” Harteau continued, “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.”
Mayor Betsy Hodges also gave a statement after Harteau’s resignation announcement:
“As far as we have come, 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 continued, “For us to continue to transform policing — and community trust in policing — we need new leadership at MPD.
“In conversation with the Chief today, she and I agreed that she would step aside to make way for new leadership. I asked Chief Harteau for her resignation, she tendered it, and I have accepted it,” Hodges added.
Star Tribune reports:
Earlier Friday, members of the Minneapolis City Council turned up the heat on the city’s police department in their first meeting since Damond’s death.
Several council members said during the meeting and in subsequent interviews that they would like to oust Chief Janeé Harteau or amend the city charter to give the council oversight of the department.
“We literally have more oversight of potholes than we do our own police. I think that’s wrong. I think that needs to change,” said Council Member Andrew Johnson.
The city’s charter gives the mayor “complete” control over the department and its policies, making it distinct from other city departments. Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden said Damond’s shooting rebooted conversations to change that, likely via a public referendum. It would take a majority vote of the council to put it on the ballot, or a unanimous vote to make the change outright.
“With a charter change like that, essentially we would then be able to have the kind of oversight that happens with every other department,” Glidden said.
Council Member Cam Gordon added that they will address the body camera policies expected of the officers, and the use of force. Gordon stated, “I’m more excited about looking at this than ever before because I now think there’s an appetite out in the community to say we need some bigger kind of changes.”