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Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best urged the City Council to “stand up for what is right” after “aggressive” protesters targeted her home over the weekend.
Best, who has opposed the nine-member council’s recommendations to defund or dismantle Seattle’s Police Department, addressed the lawmakers in a letter about the “Intimidation of Public Officials and Employees” following a protest outside of her own home.
“A residence of mine in Snohomish County was targeted by a large group of aggressive protestors late last night,” Best wrote in the letter Monday.
“My neighbors were concerned by such a large group, but they were successful in ensuring the crowd was not able to trespass or engage in other illegal behavior in the area, despite repeated attempts to do so,” she added, noting that the local sheriff was “monitoring the situation.”
Weeks of protests in the city, which even led to several downtown area blocks being taken over as “CHOP,” the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, have continued amid demands to cut the Seattle Police Department budget by half.
Demonstrators have targeted the homes of many city leaders, including Mayor Jenny Durkan, in staging protests. Council members have been discussing options such as laying off nearly 100 police officers and even creating a Community Safety and Violence Prevention department that would respond to non-violent emergency calls rather than the police.
“I urge both of you, and the entire council, to stand up for what is right,” Best wrote to the Seattle City Council, its President Lorena González and Lisa Herbold, the Public Safety Chair, who recently called for veteran officers to be fired from the force in favor of keeping “BIPOC” (black, indigenous, and people of color) officers.
“These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation,” Best continued in her letter. “Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics.”
The police chief went on to remind the city leaders that the “righteous cause” sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis back in May is not lost amid the din of “violence and intimidation” which is not being called out.
“The events of this summer were initiated in a moment of grief and outrage over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and so many other Black and Brown people suffering at the hands of injustice,” she wrote.
“All of us must ensure that this righteous cause is not lost in the confusion of so many protestors now engaging in violence and intimidation, which many are not speaking against,” Best concluded.
Council Member Tammy Morales showed her disdain for the police chief in her response to the letter.
“I have to say that I take exception to the response by our police chief, who celebrated that her neighbors met these young people with guns when they were exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest on a city street,” the Democrat said in a video statement.
The group of protesters who targeted Best’s home was identified online as the Seattle Everyday March, according to KIRO-TV. The same group reportedly met last week with Council Member Dan Strauss who described the “good discussion” had with them.
“Instead of waiting for them to come to my home,. I went and met them in the park,” he claimed. “We had a good discussion and they asked me, and they asked me tough questions on camera. What I saw is the next generation learning to lead.”
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