MPD Chief Harteau says squad involved in fatal accident with motorcycle was traveling 16 mph

JaneeHarteaurect.jpg
Harteau suggested the officer driving the SUV wasn't at fault for the fatal accident.
During a news conference this afternoon, Minneapolis Police Department Chief Janeé Harteau said the police SUV involved in a fatal accident with a motorcycle last Friday afternoon was traveling 16 to 17 miles per hour as it entered the intersection of West 26th Street and Blaisdell Avenue.

THE BACKSTORY:
-- Terrence Franklin shot multiple times by MPD, but it's unclear whether he fired a shot himself
-- MPD, witnesses differ on accounts of motorcycle accident that killed Ivan Romero [PHOTOS]


Harteau said the MPD determined the SUV's speed using GPS data and equipment installed inside the squad.

Somewhat curiously, Harteau said the officer driving the SUV hasn't yet given a formal statement to investigators. Asked why, Harteau said the officer has "been through quite the ordeal" and is "visibly shaken."

"We want to make sure we give him the time he needs to be able to give a statement," she continued, adding that surveillance video of the accident "tells the accurate story." (Harteau said she's watched video of the accident.)

Harteau acknowledged the driver of the police SUV ran a red light as he proceeded through the intersection of 26th and Blaisdell en route to 2717 Bryant Avenue South, the house where burglary suspect Terrence Franklin had been shot and killed a half-hour prior. (She said the officer was responding to a call from a supervisor at the house requesting additional support.) But the SUV had sirens activated and lights flashing, and "other vehicles had already stopped on both streets and both directions," Harteau said.

Witnesses have provided accounts of the accident that are at odds with the MPD's, with some saying the SUV raced through the intersection at 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Harteau said the motorcycle "struck the rear area" of the SUV, suggesting the driver, Ivan Romero, didn't see the police vehicle as he attempted to cross Blaisdell headed southbound. That also contradicts accounts given by some witnesses.

Despite her assurances about the SUV's speed, Harteau said the MPD has asked the State Patrol to assist in a reconstruction of the accident.

Asked about the separate controversy surrounding the incident inside the Bryant Avenue home that left Franklin dead and two officers with bullet wounds, Harteau said she isn't ready to talk about it.

The MPD continues to wait "for forensics, for all the evidence gathered at the scene," she said, adding that the two officers who were shot also haven't yet given formal statements.

"They're on medication," Harteau said, and the MPD is waiting for them to be in "sound mind to give a statement."

Harteau said she's personally reached out to the families of Romero and Franklin.

They've "declined outreach, but the offer still stands today," Harteau said. "It's only beneficial if we have an opportunity to have a conversation."

Asked what she'd say to the families, Harteau said she'd offer her condolences and assure them "we are conducting a very thorough, fair investigation leaving no question unanswered."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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31 comments
Dean131
Dean131

Legal advice: Don't talk to the police.

Three cops involved in the deaths of two citizens: none of them have discussed the cases with investigators in almost a week.

The chief says one of them has "been through quite the ordeal" and is "visibly shaken." The others are "on medication," and the MPD is waiting for them to be in "sound mind to give a statement."

Talk to your lawyer before you say ANYTHING to the cops. It's what the cops do. I'd follow their lead.

kbwhynot
kbwhynot

In the suburbs the Opticon system changes the signals so emergency vehicles always have a green light.  Recently, in Minneapolis, I saw a fire truck about 3 blocks away but, when it reached the intersection I was at Hennepin & Central), the light remained red and one vehicle almost was hit.  Why the difference in how the systems operate?

Barny911
Barny911

Mpls Cops are the best in the business. Bad things can happen when a criminal decides to start something the cops have to finish. Good work.

Gene Hanf
Gene Hanf

Sounds like she has already been convicted without the trial. Let's see the video.

Shawn Clark
Shawn Clark

They can go threw red lights by turning on there lights and go threw and then some body winds up dead and injured the other. And I don't under stand about a fund raiser for the guy. his insurance should cover burial expenses

keny1
keny1

This is off topic, but in the picture of Harteau at the top of this article, is that what she passes off as a smile? It looks more like she just got nailed in the ass and is trying to hide the pain.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Why did nutjob Rybak force Tim Dolan to retire?

Harley Schultz
Harley Schultz

Ive seen cops on hundreds of different occasions turn on their sirens and lights to blaze through red lights they don't wnat to wait on just to turn them off once they pass the red lights.

Adam Jones
Adam Jones

The video eventually will be released to the public and will tell the whole story, so chill.

Thomas Zocher
Thomas Zocher

Of course not...cops are infallible. What's the point of being a member, or leader of a completely legal gang and not stick up for your members, no matter what bullshit they are a part of?

Heidi Stahnke
Heidi Stahnke

Hopefully its not your call theyre late to sitting at a red light.

Elisa Maria
Elisa Maria

Let's see the video then. Release the video surveillance to the public...

Heidi Stahnke
Heidi Stahnke

...stay tuned to when u are all bitching about the police not showing up to a scene in time to save someone saying "where were the police? that family needs answers!"

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

Don't recall if there is a red light cam at that intersection...

pthorn01
pthorn01

Simply giving the officer involved enough time to forget what actually happened before he/she gives their statement of the accident. Don't cops usually try to acquire a statement right away while the details are still fresh? 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

this pig is a pig, wow


also i have never ever seen a cop doing 17mph, they speed - we see it


down with the POLICE

Jonathan D. Finkelstein
Jonathan D. Finkelstein

Regardless of whether the cyclist heard sirens/saw lights, it doesn't change the fact that the officer blew a red light. They reserve the right to do so when responding, but when you kill someone, you also take the responsibility that goes with your actions. I've seen so many cops going through red lights/stop signs at extremely high rates of speeds, _many_ times without their sirens going. I'm sure it's quite the adrenaline rush when you're in pursuit or responding to a call. It could happen to anyone at any time.

David Olson
David Olson

Screw what she says,and get this in front of a Grand Jury!!

Mark Holsten
Mark Holsten

That's because the squad, wasn't. No disrespect in any way, but you would think someone who wasn't wearing a helmet would hear and see sirens and lights. Not to mention the possible flashing halogen light, 5 inches away from the stop light.

Paul Lockman
Paul Lockman

Once again the police get the last laugh this is a joke , when will people finally realize we are being blatantly lied to and except it as the norm . Hopefully the family of the victim open their own investigation and get some closure from this ( crime )

Brad Bergerson
Brad Bergerson

She should be careful when she lies because this will definitely see a courtroom.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Dean131 pinpointed it for us. DOWN WITH POLICE


this lady is so fkn ugly it boggles the mind - fkn plastic face

czootzoot
czootzoot

@Barny911 You're stupid this is about the poor kid on the motorcycle who was following the law and now his girlfriends life is completely f*%$ed up because of the police.  GET YO MIND OUT THE GUTTER BOOOOy

scott.luse
scott.luse

You are an idiot Kenya1. Really sick.

jo1glex
jo1glex

@scott.luseIt's just bait, Scott.  Take it or not, as you see fit.  Keny's our local site's sanctioned click-bait troll.  It's a persona, not a person. Though the person behind it may have a tendency that way; it's hard to completely fake this sort of thing.  But the point is to drive clicks.  If that's what it takes to keep the ad revenue up and keep the site running, that's the price we pay.  There's at least one on every Village Voice-related website.

If you feel like getting into it with Keny, bear in mind it'll be like a hockey fight or a pro-wrestling bout.  It's staged, to fire everybody up, whether you know it or not.  By all means, feel free if you like.  Sometimes we all need to get rid of some tension.  But it's not really real.

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