Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has resigned in the wake of a Minneapolis police officer shooting and killing Justine Damond. Her resignation says the shooting and other recent incidents “have caused me to engage in deep reflection.”
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says she met with Harteau and asked for her 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,” Hodges wrote on her Facebook page. “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.”
Earlier in the day, Minneapolis city council members were discussing how to fire her.
Harteau was the first woman to hold the title of Police Chief in Minneapolis. She was promoted to the position in January of 2013.
From the very start, Harteau has made changes in the department. In a 2013 interview with The UpTake she called her desired version of the department’s culture MPD 2.0 — including leadership changes from the top down and changes in the ways officers deal with the public. “Change takes time,” Harteau says. “Culture change takes three to five years. This expectation of change occurring over night is — I’d love that, but that’s unrealistic. Trust gets built over time. People have to trust me.”
That trust has been eroding as police and citizens clashed after officers gunned down Jamar Clark in November of 2015 near the city’s fourth precinct headquarters. Clark, who is black, was unarmed. Black Lives Matter and other aligned groups protested for 18 days outside the precinct headquarters until police forced them to leave. That trust eroded greatly this weekend when officer Mahamed Noor shot and killed Damond after she called 911. Police have released very little information about the shooting. Noor has refused to talk to investigators and Harteau made no statement for days since she was out of town on vacation.
Hodges says she is nominating Assistant Chief Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo as Police Chief.
“Over the next few years, the Minneapolis Police Department will work to continue the transformational change that we all know we need, and to strengthen and ingrain into our policing the changes that we have already made. I am confident that Assistant Chief Arradondo is the right person to lead us through it,” Hodges posted on Facebook. “The experience of working closely with him over the past week, which has been so hard on everyone in Minneapolis, has solidified my confidence.”
Hodges then held a news conference to make announce her appointment. She was interrupted by protesters from several groups upset with the police who then took over the news conference.
“Bye-bye Betsy” they chanted.
Hodges left the room for a time and then returned to speak to the media.
Hodges is up for reelection this November. She faces a large field of candidates. The city uses ranked choice voting so there will be no primary. Hodges failed to win her party’s endorsement at this summer’s city convention.
Resignation Statement from Chief Harteau, Hodges Statements
Video at top: In 2013 Harteau talks about having to deal with “bad apples” in Minneapolis police department and she says training will solve the problem.
Harteau Resignation Statement
Over the 30+ years that I’ve served as a police officer in the City of Mpls, moving up through the ranks to Police Chief, I have woken up every day knowing that this job is not about me. It is about the members of the communities that we serve and the police officers who protect our residents. I am proud of the great work the MPD has accomplished. For example, I am proud we are already a leader in 21st Century and community policing. However, 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’ve 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. 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.
I want to thank the countless community, business and law enforcement leaders that I’ve partnered with over the past three decades. Together we have built a department to be proud of through our accomplishments including MPD 2.0, our groundbreaking work with the National Initiative, Cops out of Cars, National Night Out Championships, Police Community Chaplains, the Police Community Support Team, increasing our overall department diversity, the Office of Justice Programs Assessment, Bike Cops for Kids, the Body Worn Camera program, Procedural Justice, the Chief’s Citizens Advisory Council, our Community Collaborative Advancement division, the Quality Assurance Division, the Mental Health Co-Responder program, the Leadership and Organizational Development Division and building sustainable relationships within the community.
My goal with MPD 2.0 was to leave the department better than when I became Chief, and I believe that we have.
It’s been an honor to serve the residents of Minneapolis and the officers of the Minneapolis Police Department.