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Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Published March 1, 2024

Protests, reconciliations mark City Hall scene after police chief resigns

The leadership changes were called for in advance by city council members and activists alike.
Mayor Betsy Hodges speaks on Police Chief Jane
Image by Chris Dang
Mayor Betsy Hodges speaks on Police Chief Jane

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau stepped down from her post Friday after calls for her resignation from multiple city council members and activists, spurring protest at City Hall later that day.

Harteau’s resignation comes just days after MPD Officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed Justine Damond, an Australia native, in south Minneapolis July 15. The incident sparked international outrage, with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling the shooting “shocking” and “inexplicable.” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was “heartsick and deeply disturbed” by the shooting.

Protesters overtook a room packed with journalists Friday evening where Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges held a press conference to discuss Minneapolis Police Chief Jeneé Harteau’s resignation earlier that day. 

Hodges’ address began as a synopsis of the day’s events, including an announcement of Harteau’s resignation and the selection of her interim replacement, Assistant Chief Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo. Minutes into the address in Hodges’ City Hall office, a man in the crowd shouted over Hodges and called for her resignation.

After rallying outside city hall, about 100 protesters entered the building and filled the conference room.

“We do not want you as the mayor of Minneapolis, and we are asking you to resign,” said John Thompson, friend of shooting victim Philando Castile. He and fellow protesters also denounced Interim Chief Arradondo as a superficial but insubstantial new leader.

Protesters soon joined in with Thompson, echoing chants of “Bye, bye, Betsy,” before they took the podium from Hodges. They carried banners and posters alike, chanting “No justice, no peace” and “resignation” until Hodges’ speech was drowned out. Hodges’ later left the room, and protesters took to the podium.

The group took turns at the microphone voicing concerns over city policy and insisting that Hodges and the entire City Council be replaced. Grievances ranged from misuse of police body cameras in the shooting death of Justine Damond July 15 to dissatisfaction with the timeline of the city’s recently passed $15 per hour minimum wage ordinance. 

Approximately 20 minutes passed after the protesters interrupted Hodges before they left the mayor’s office of their own accord, leaving her to continue her address. 

As of 8:52 p.m., Hodges had not resumed her press conference.

This is a breaking news story. The Daily will update this story as news develops. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau stepped down from her role Friday after multiple city council members called for her resignation.

“Last Saturday’s tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection,” Harteau said in a statement. “The recent incidents do not reflect the training and procedures we’ve developed as a Department. … 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.”

In a statement, Hodges said she asked Harteau for her resignation today.

“As far as we have come, I’ve lost confidence in the Chief’s ability to lead us further,” Hodges said in a statement. “For us to continue to transform policing — and community trust in policing — we need new leadership at MPD.”

Harteau had been the Chief since 2012 and was the first female to assume the role. She had been with the MPD for over 30 years.

At least two city council members said Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau should be replaced at a council meeting Friday.

Council Members Jacob Frey, Ward 3 and Linea Palmisano, Ward 13, said Harteau’s handling of a recent officer involved shooting merits her resignation or termination and more city council members called for more oversight of the MPD.

The discussion Friday was spurred by the Saturday police shooting of Justine Damond. According to the Star TribuneDamond called 911 to seek help for a neighbor she believed was being attacked in the minutes before Mohamed Noor, the responding officer, shot and killed her from the window of his vehicle. 

Frey, a mayoral candidate, said the three council members spoke briefly about their concerns before the meeting, but each member came to the decision on their own terms.

“While I respect [Mayor Betsy Hodges and Harteau], our confidence has been eroded,” Frey said. “We need new leadership, we need a new chief.”

Palmisano, whose ward includes the area where the shooting occurred, called for major changes.

“I will be pushing for fundamental changes in our police department from top to bottom,” she said at the meeting. “We must seriously consider whether we need a change of leadership in our police department.”

Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon said the statements addressed many of his concerns with the chief, but he’s not ready to call for her resignation.

“I’ve had concerns about the chief for a while,” Gordon said. “I recognize the good things [Harteau has] done, but I also have serious concerns.”

Gordon said he is questioning whether Harteau should be reappointed, but he’s not ready to consider removing her unless Hodges supports the decision.

To replace Harteau, the city’s executive committee would have to decide to do so. The committee is made up of Hodges and council members Gordon, Barbara Johnson, Ward 4, Kevin Reich, Ward 1, and Elizabeth Glidden, Ward 8.

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