MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau announced her resignation at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges early Friday evening, as scrutiny of her department hit an all-time high following the shooting of Justine Damond by one of her officers.
Hodges said in a statement that while Harteau has served the city for 30 years with "vision, determination, and strength," the mayor does not believe the chief can do the job any longer.
“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. 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," Hodges continued, in a written statement. "I asked Chief Harteau for her resignation, she tendered it, and I have accepted it."
Hodges wasted no time in announcing Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo as her choice for permanent chief. While Arradondo can assume the role as interim Police Chief, getting the full-time job will require approval by both the executive council and the city council.
For her part, Chief Harteau posted a statement on the MPD Facebook page recounting her pride in the department she served for more than 30 years. Harteau also noted that recent incidents, including Saturday night's fatal officer-involved shooting of Justine Damond have caused her to reflect on the Minneapolis Police Department, the city, and the communities she serves.
"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 wrote. "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 relationship between Hodges and Harteau has been on increasingly rocky ground, with fractures beginning to show following the officer-involved shooting of Jamar Clark and the so-called occupation of the 4th precinct. A combative series of texts between the two over who should lead the north side precinct became public, and the recent officer shooting incidents involving Damond and a pair of neighborhood dogs appear to have been the last straw.
Union President Bob Kroll reacted to the news positively, accusing the chief of playing favorites and running the department using fear and intimidation.
“My members and I think it is the right decision. They look forward to a new start under new leadership. When she took over, my membership had high hopes for her but that quickly faded within her first 6 months. It appeared that she was not going to let effective management of the organization interfere with her ability to fulfill personal vendettas. She operated through favoritism and fear of intimidation. Our members are very happy that she is leaving.”
Kroll also took a shot at the Mayor, saying the move smells of politics. “People shouldn’t be confused by this tactic by Mayor Hodges in her effort to resurrect her dying bid for re-election.”
Below is the entire statement made by Mayor Hodges on the chief's resignation.
“Janeé Harteau has served the Minneapolis Police Department and the people of Minneapolis for 30 years with vision, determination, and strength. She has overcome barriers and challenges that most of us can’t begin to imagine to become one of the top law-enforcement officials in America in a male-dominated profession. She deserves everyone’s thanks for her dedicated service.
“I’ve worked closely with Chief Harteau for three and a half years. In that time, we’ve done more, faster, to transform policing, public safety, and public trust than any other mayor, police chief, police department, or city in America, while putting the safety of our residents first and working hard every day to keep Minneapolis a safe city for everyone. I give Chief Harteau tremendous credit for taking on that body of work, and leading through all this change.
“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. 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.
“We are not slowing the pace of our transformation. The work will continue until it is done — until justice, dignity, and the sanctity of life are reflected in every police encounter, and until everyone feels safe and is safe in One Minneapolis. We will not waver from that.
“This just means that the time has come for new leadership at MPD to get us where we all know we need to be.”