The police chief of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has resigned from her position after a 40-year-old Australian was shot to death by a police officer last week.
Police Chief Janee Harteau posted her resignation statement on the police department's Facebook page late Friday, saying, "Last Saturday's tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection. ... 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 local newspaper, the Star Tribune, reported that Harteau stepped down at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges, who said she had lost faith in the chief and believed the people of Minneapolis had done so as well. Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo is set to replace Harteau.
Police body cameras off
Harteau has been criticized not only for the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but for not returning early from a trip out of state when a Minneapolis police officer sitting in a squad car accidentally shot to death Justine Damond, a woman who had called for emergency help after hearing what she believed to be a sexual assault near her home.
Adding to the public outrage that erupted in Australia and the United States was the fact that the police officers' body cameras were switched off when the shooting occurred.
Bob Fletcher, a former police officer and current mayor of Vadnais Heights, just outside Minneapolis, told VOA's Somali service that he can't recall a similar shooting, in which the person who called for help became the victim of a mistaken shooting by police.
"It's rare if ever that police officers fire from their squad car," Fletcher said.
He added, "It clearly was a reaction shooting . … Some level of fear was created in the officer's mind by whatever occurred just previously to him pulling the trigger."
Officers startled by loud noise
Harteau first spoke out about the incident Thursday, saying it "should not have happened." She also said, "Justine didn't have to die."
Damond was a meditation teacher and bride-to-be. She was killed late Saturday in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.
The agency investigating the shooting, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said one of the officers, Matthew Harrity, was startled by a loud noise just moments before his partner, Mohamed Noor, fired the deadly shot from the passenger seat.
Officials say the officers' body cameras were not turned on, a violation of Minneapolis Police Department rules. The incident was also not captured by the patrol car's dashboard camera.
Harteau mentioned in her resignation letter that "other recent incidents" contributed to her decision to step down.
This is the second major police shooting in the Minneapolis area over the last year. In July 2016, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in the sister city of St. Paul in an incident streamed live on social media by Castile's girlfriend. The officer who shot Castile, Jeronimo Yanez, was recently acquitted on charges of second-degree manslaughter.
VOA Somalia's Harun Maruf contributed to this article.