MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Chaos erupted at Minneapolis City Hall Friday night following the resignation of Police Chief Janee Hartaeu at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges.
The mayor’s press conference was quickly interrupted by protesters, who said they agree the chief should resign but want Mayor Hodges to go, too.
Hodges said she’s willing to talk to the protesters about their concerns before ending the press conference. She later said she doesn’t plan to resign, but shares the community’s frustration.
This all comes after a tragic and tumultuous week. Last Saturday night, a police officer fatally shot Justine Damond after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault outside her home.
It took the chief five days to return from a vacation to condemn Officer Mohammed Noor’s actions at a news conference yesterday. Then, earlier today, several city council members questioned the police department’s leadership calling for fundamental change inside the department.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Friday night Janee Hartaeu announced that she had resigned.
Some, like Minneapolis Police union president Lt. Bob Kroll, said Mayor Hodges response was a political reaction in an election year.
“I am governing right now, regardless of anything else that’s going on,” Hodges said, when asked if her decision had to do with politics. “My highest priority is what’s best for the city and what’s best for this work moving forward. And this isn’t about one event, it’s not about one thing — it’s about a whole host of things, and seeing that now is the time for the change.”
Before protesters interrupted tonight’s press conference, they took to the streets to spread their message. It started in Loring Park to honor all of the people killed by police in Minnesota. About 100 protesters blocked traffic marching down Hennepin avenue before ending at city hall.