Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau resigned on Friday, nearly a week after an officer from her department fatally shot an Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. Harteau’s resignation honored a request from Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said she had “lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead us further.” Hodges added that “from the many conservations I’ve had with people around our city, especially this week, it is clear that [Harteau] has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well.”
At around 11:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, two Minneapolis police officers, Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity, responded to two 911 calls from 40-year-old Justine Damond, who reported what she believed to be evidence of a rape. When the officers arrived at the scene, Harrity, who drove the car, was reportedly startled by a loud noise. The sight of Damond at the driver’s side window immediately afterward prompted Noor to fire his gun, fatally wounding Damond in the abdomen. Lending additional scrutiny to the case was the fact the officers did not activate their body cameras upon arrival.
While Harrity has provided his own account of the incident, Noor—the first Somali-American police officer in Minneapolis’s 5th precinct—has declined to speak with investigators. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave as they await possible charges. At a Thursday news conference following the shooting, Harteau said that Damond “didn’t have to die,” but argued the incident was the result of “one individual’s actions.” She added that Minneapolis officers were not trained to act as Noor did on Saturday night—a comment that incited scrutiny, given the fatal shooting of Philando Castile outside the city in July 2016 and the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark during a scuffle with two Minneapolis police officers in November 2015.