City council members call for Minneapolis Police Chief to step down

At least two city council members asked that Janeé Harteau resign in wake of the Justine Damond shooting.

by Bella Dally-Steele

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 Tribune, Damond 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 some of the 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.