The first head has rolled after the inexplicable shooting of an unarmed Justine Damond a week ago, and it didn’t take long for protesters to demand more. Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges requested and received the resignation of police chief Janeé Harteau yesterday afternoon. Hodges held a press conference to announce the nomination of assistant chief Mediara Arradondo, who had been handling most of the media briefings in the Damond shooting already:
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned abruptly Friday amid growing criticism from the public and the City Council following the fatal police shooting of Justine Damond.
The chief’s departure came at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges, who promptly nominated Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo, a 28-year veteran of the force, to replace Harteau. The move ended Harteau’s 4½-year run as the first woman and first openly gay person to head the department.
Hodges told the media that she had lost confidence in Harteau:
“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,” Hodges said. “For us to continue to transform policing — and community trust in policing — we need new leadership at MPD.”
Hodges praised Harteau for serving the Minneapolis Police Department and the people of Minneapolis for more than 30 years “with vision, determination and strength.”
There is some history between Harteau and Hodges that precedes the Damond shooting. A clash over an appointment to a key position led to sharp communications between the two that later leaked to the media. The relationship was poor enough that the US Department of Justice pointed it out in its report on the Jamar Clark shooting two years ago, as the Pioneer Press notes in the link above.
Hodges turns out to have lots of communications issues. As she tried to announce the changes late yesterday afternoon, protesters who filled the room took over the presser, shouting “Bye bye Betsy!” and demanding that she and the entire city council resign. Hodges tried and failed to regain control over her own press conference:
The moment when protesters flooded into the room: pic.twitter.com/QeoMFZUhDg
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) July 22, 2017
Power Line’s Scott Johnson calls Minneapolis government a clown act:
No sooner had idiot Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges fired number 22 World Leader Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau than Hodges sought to expound on her deep thoughts for the benefit of her constituents. She is, after all, seeking reelection as the hometown crowd moves ever further to the lunatic left. Hodges is finding it hard to keep up.
Unlikely as it may seem, Minneapolis’s lunatic left means to turn the shooting of Ms. Damond by Officer Noor into an instrument of further radicalization in Minneapolis. Thus the takeover of Hodges’s press conference by the usual suspects this evening (video below). Like the old circus act, the little car in the center ring of the show in Minneapolis is unloading a thousand clowns.
Scott’s mention of #22 world leader is a reference to a Fortune list of the world’s top 50 “greatest leaders,” which picked Harteau at that rank. It’s worth noting how Fortune viewed Harteau just four short months ago:
“Over the past 18 months, Harteau has endured the kinds of challenges that every chief dreads,” the national business magazine said in releasing its fourth-annual ranking Thursday. “Growing tension with the police union. A spike in overall crime rates. And most challenging of all: the fatal shooting by police of an African-American man, Jamar Clark, under dubious circumstances that prompted an 18-day protest organized by Black Lives Matter.”
The magazine went on to say that she “weathered these woes with the steadiness that has made her a leadership role model. A 30-year veteran and the city’s first female and first gay police chief, Harteau is the mind behind MPD 2.0, a drive to build trust in the community by putting more cops on the beat. Civic leaders credit her for dismissing cops for misconduct.[“]
How’s that working out, eh? The “leadership role model” chose not to return from her backpacking trip after the Damond shooting, leaving Arradondo to handle the crisis. When she returned, she did nothing but regurgitate the BCA’s findings in the shooting and insist that Mohamed Noor’s actions didn’t reflect on his training and department policies. We can see how well that was received in the clip above.
Hodges shares in Harteau’s humiliation too, as Gary Gross points out. Harteau certainly didn’t impress many people other than Fortune Magazine, but the clown-car chaos belongs to Hodges.
Meanwhile, the Damond shooting may have been captured on video after all, the Star Tribune reports, no thanks to the two police officers involved:
A witness who was nearby when Justine Damond was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer has been located and is cooperating, according to state investigators.
The witness, who was seen bicycling east on W. 51st Street immediately before the shooting and who stopped and watched officers perform CPR “has been cooperative and provided an interview today,” according to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
A source with direct knowledge of the investigation said the witness filmed part of the encounter.
Police have been looking for the cyclist ever since the shooting occurred, so this is perhaps the first real break they have had since then. It remains to be seen just how valuable any video may be. It was dark, the cyclist was probably not very close, and it’s unknown whether the video began before the shooting. This may be the only other testimony and evidence the BCA will get, especially since Noor still isn’t talking.