US Police Chief Quits over Death of Unarmed Woman
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau has resigned at the request of the city’s mayor, who said that she and the public had lost confidence in Ms. Harteau following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman.
The death of Sydney native Justine Damond, 40, from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen fired through the open window of a police patrol car, has outraged her family members and the Australian public. The country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called it “shocking” and “inexplicable”.
Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a written statement that she and Ms. Harteau had agreed on Friday that Ms. Harteau would step aside, AP reported.
“I've lost confidence in the chief's ability to lead us further — and from the many conservations 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,” Ms. Hodges said in the statement.
A press conference Ms. Hodges called to discuss the personnel change was interrupted by a group of protesters calling for her to resign, a witness video posted on YouTube showed.
“Your leadership has been very ineffective. Your police department has terrorized us enough,” one protester said.
Ms. Damond, who was living in Minneapolis and engaged to be married, had called police about a possible sexual assault in her neighborhood just before midnight on Saturday. She was shot as she approached the driver’s side of a police patrol car.
Ms. Harteau’s resignation came a day after she told reporters during her first news conference following Ms. Damond’s death that the shooting violated department training and procedures and that the victim “didn’t have to die”.
Ms. Harteau, a 30-year veteran of the department, was the first woman to lead it and is also openly gay. She was criticized for the department’s handling of the fatal 2015 shooting of 24-year-old black man Jamar Clark, who was unarmed.
The shooting of Mr. Clark touched off protests in Minneapolis at a time of fierce national debate over the use of excessive force by police, especially against black people.
Hundreds of people also took to the streets of Minneapolis to protest against Ms. Damond’s death.