Jami Resch resigned on Monday as police chief in Portland, Oregon, stepping aside to let Chuck Lovell, a lieutenant, assume leadership of the department.
"To say this was unexpected would be an understatement," Lovell said during a news conference. "I'm humbled. I'm going to listen. I'm going to care about the community, and I'm looking forward to this journey." Resch, a white woman, said Lovell, who is black, is "the exact right person at the exact right time" to lead the force.
The idea to put Lovell in charge of the department came to Resch after she spoke with black community leaders like Tony Hopson Sr., who told The Oregonian that what Resch did is "virtually unheard of." Resch, who was chief for just six months, will be reassigned to a different position.
Resch had been criticized for the department's handling of the city's George Floyd protests, after officers fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators throwing glass bottles and rocks. Mayor Ted Wheeler said Portland needs Lovell's leadership, and they "must reimagine reform and rebuild what public safety looks like."