A somber news conference in which the mayor of Minneapolis described accepting the resignation of her beleaguered police chief turned into chaos as protesters became so loud and unruly that she had to leave the stage. From there, it turned into the protesters’ press conference.
Mayor Betsy Hodges asked police chief Janeé Harteau to resign earlier today following an incident when an unarmed woman was shot and killed by police. The victim, an Australian woman named Justine Damond, 40, was killed near her house in south Minneapolis after calling 9/11 for assistance.
In a statement, the former chief defended her leadership:
“Last Saturday’s tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection,” said Harteau, a 30-year veteran of the police department, in a statement. “The recent incidents do not reflect the training and procedures we’ve developed as a Department.”
The protesters demanded that Hodges, her entire staff, and the city council should also resign. Hodges tried to address their concerns but as chants grew louder it was clear she wouldn’t be heard. Once she was escorted out, the protesters announced it was “our press conference now.” They disbursed after nearly half an hour of impromptu speeches and chants for justice.