MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amid controversy stemming from her response to another in a string of headline-making police shootings, Janeé Harteau has resigned as Minneapolis Police Chief.
In her resignation letter, Harteau says the recent shooting of Justine Damond, “as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection. … 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.”
According to a statement from the city, the chief’s resignation comes at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges, who has clashed publicly with Harteau in the past.
Mayor Hodges also released a statement on the chief’s resignation:
“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,” the statement said.
The mayor was reading a statement on the chief’s resignation at a press conference Friday evening when dozens of protesters stormed the room. Mayor Hodges eventually had to be escorted out of the room.
On Thursday, five days after the police shooting of Justine Damond in south Minneapolis, Harteau spoke publicly for the first time. She had been out of town since the shooting, on vacation.
“Justine didn’t have to die. Based on the BCA information, this should not have happened. We’re talking about the actions of one individual,” Harteau said.
In the meantime, the mayor is nominating Medaria Arradondo as the new chief of police. Arradondo is currently serving as the assistant chief of police.
“We had high hopes when Janee took over as chief and she seemed to have let our department down within the first six months of her tenure,” Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the Minneapolis Police officers’ union, said.
Harteau has been under growing pressure to speak out about her department’s officer-involved shooting. Some were questioning why she wouldn’t cut her vacation short and return with answers.
Harteau served as the head of the Minneapolis Police Department as it was in the center of intense scrutiny over the shooting deaths of Jamar Clark and Damond, additionally heightened in the Twin Cities following the shooting death of Philando Castile by then-St. Anthony Main police officer Jeronimo Yanez.
She was involved in open disagreements with police union head Bob Kroll, especially as protesters gathered around the city’s 4th precinct following the death of Clark. At one point she told Kroll not to wear his police uniform when giving interviews as the union president.
At the same time, she was nationally recognized for her leadership skills. Just months ago, Fortune Magazine named her among the top 50 world leaders.