Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau Fired Over Justine Damond Shooting

Chief Janee Harteau (left) was forced to resign after the fatal shooting of Justine Damond (right.)

Chief Janee Harteau (left) was forced to resign after the fatal shooting of Justine Damond (right.)

Chief Janee Harteau Fired Over Backlash For Justine Damond Shooting

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau was asked by Mayor Betsy Hodges to resign in lieu of termination, forcing the chief to submit her letter of resignation.

Chief Janee Harteau’s forced resignation comes after she has been heavily criticized after the shooting of Justine Damond by Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor on Saturday night.

“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,” Mayor Hodges said, according to Star Tribune.

“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,” Hodges said.

“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 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,” Harteau said, according to Star Tribune.

“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.”

Many in the City Council pressed for Chief Harteau’s termination on Friday, in the first City Council meeting since the shooting.

Chief Hareau was heavily criticized for her failure to respond quickly after the shooting. In a defensive press conference on Thursday, the chief said that she had been backpacking in the mountains and there was no way for her to get back sooner.

In that same press conference, she also claimed that the officers involved violated policy by not having their body cameras on. Her statement appears to be a failed attempt to deflect attention away from herself.

A review of the policy and circumstances shows that the officers would have been allowed to have their body cameras off prior to the shooting, and they were afforded reasonable time after the shooting to activate their cameras.

Some of the criticism of the chief says that her policies are what allowed the officers not to have their cameras on. Even more criticism came because the chief failed to set up the body cameras to automatically record when officers took actions such as unholstering their weapons.

Regardless of how the body cameras were used, the cameras would likely have not shown the shooting, even if they had been on. The cameras would have been facing forward as officer sat in the car, and would only have recorded the front of the car during the shooting.

In the end, even if the officers had body cameras mounted on their glasses and recorded the shooting, it would do nothing to solve the problem; that Justine Damond was shot in the first place.

Officer Mohamed Noor’s account of events has still not been released because he has chosen to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent. His decision all-but guarantees criminal charges, if the public outrage and circumstances of the case did not.

I am not aware of any officer-involved shooting which did not result in criminal charges in cases when the officer refused to make a statement. The prosecutors are left with a homicide with no justification given for the shooting.