Minneapolis police chief resigns after Australian woman's shooting

July 21 (Reuters) - Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau resigned on Friday at the request of the city's mayor, who said that she had lost confidence in Harteau following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman.

The death of Justine Damond, 40, from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen fired through an open window of a police patrol car, has outraged her relatives and the public in Australia. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it "shocking" and "inexplicable."

Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement that she and Harteau agreed during discussions on Friday that Harteau would step aside.

"As far as we have come, 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," Hodges said in her statement.

"For us to continue to transform policing -- and community trust in policing -- we need new leadership at MPD," she added.

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Justine Damond's shooting death
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Justine Damond's shooting death
Justine Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, from Sydney, is seen in this 2015 photo released by Stephen Govel Photography in New York, U.S., on July 17, 2017. Courtesy Stephen Govel/Stephen Govel Photography/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Memorials on the alleyway for Justine Damond who was shot by a Minneapolis police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Don Damond speaks to the media about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Don Damond hugs a neighbor after reading a statement about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Don Damond hugs a neighbor after reading a statement about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Justine Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, from Sydney, is seen in this 2015 photo released by Stephen Govel Photography in New York, U.S., on July 17, 2017. Courtesy Stephen Govel/Stephen Govel Photography/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
Don Damond talks with neighbors after reading a statement about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Don Damond is comforted by his son Zach Damond as he speaks to the media about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Don Damond is comforted by his son Zach Damond as he speaks to the media about his fiance, Justine Damond who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Sue Goodstar and JR Bobbick, both of the Native Lives Matter movement, pay respects to Justine Damond who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
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Damond, who had made Minneapolis her home and was 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 the patrol car.

Harteau's resignation come a day after she told reporters during her first news conference following Damond's death that the shooting violated department training and procedures and that the victim "didn't have to die."

"Last Saturday's tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection," Harteau said in her statement. "Despite the MPD's many accomplishments under my leadership over these years and my love for the city, I have to put the communities we serve first."

Harteau rose through the ranks of the Minneapolis Police Department during her three decades with the force, her statement said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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