Protests erupt at Minneapolis mayor’s press conference announcing police chief resignation

In a raucous press conference on Friday evening Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced the resignation of Minneapolis Police Chief Jane Harteau. The resignation came in the wake of the fatal shooting of an Australian woman by a police officer on July 15.

“We need new leadership at MPD,” Hodges said. “I asked Chief Harteau for her resignation, she tendered it and I accepted it.”

The presser quickly turned into a back and forth debate with a protester who was in attendance. 

“We do not want you as the mayor,” a man said to Hodges. “We do not want you as the mayor of Minneapolis! You have been ineffective. We do not want you as the mayor, Betsy Hodges!”

Hodges initially attempted to engage the protester, saying she would be “happy to sit down and talk with people about the future of policing in Minneapolis.” But the protester continued to yell while others in attendance joined the dialogue.

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Hodges eventually walked away and left the room without continuing her announcement as the protesters began cheering before taking turns to make their own remarks. 

The mayor returned to the podium approximately 30 minutes later – once the room had cleared – to complete her comments and to address the concerns brought up by the protesters. 

Chief Harteau’s resignation came a day after she made her initial remarks on the death of 40-year-old Justine Damond.

Damond was fatally shot on Saturday by an officer who responded to her 911 call about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house. Damond apparently approached the driver’s side window of the police vehicle right after the two responding police officers heard a loud sound.

The officer in the passenger seat, Mohamed Noor, then fired his weapon through the open driver’s side window, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

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Harteau had been out of the city in the days after the incident but said on Thursday that she had been on personal time and was in contact with her command staff.

On Thursday Harteau said that Damond “did not have to die,” adding that the actions of Officer Noor “go against who we are in the department” and against how officers are trained.

Noor has still not agreed to be interviewed about the incident.

Before she was interrupted, Hodges announced that she would nominate Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo to replace Harteau.

Arradondo, who is African-American, joined the department as a patrol officer in 1989. He had been Harteau’s chief of staff before becoming assistant chief in April.

His nomination requires City Council confirmation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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