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Almost two years to the day she took office as the city’s first black police chief, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best emailed her resignation notice to the department.
The notice came late Monday, following a decision earlier in the day by City Council to move forward with sweeping proposals that would cut about 100 officers and slash the department’s budget, Fox News reported.
“I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own,” Best wrote in the email. “This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.”
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) August 11, 2020
Best thanked Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for “her continuous support.” and let the department know that most people in the embattled city support their efforts.
“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times,” she said. “You truly are the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.”
The departing police chief looked forward to “the process of re-envisioning public safety” that lies ahead — without her.
“After more than 28 years, I am so thankful for the time I spent at SPD. You are my family. You will always be in my heart. We have had tough times before and come out better on the other side. I am glad I pushed through each of those tough times with you,” Best said.
Mayor Durkan released a statement on Best’s resignation:
“Know that while I understand the Chief’s reasons, I accepted her decision with a very heavy heart. I have had the privilege to be with Chief Carmen Best in so many situations: with her family, at roll calls, in community meetings, and in nearly weekly meetings addressing public safety in Seattle. Her grit, grace and integrity have inspired me and made our city better. These last months, I knew Chief Best was the person to lead our city through this challenging time, to reimagine policing and community safety. Her leadership is unmatched nationwide, which is why it is a sad day for our City to lose her.
“Carmen Best is still devoted to this department and our city. I regret deeply that she concluded that the best way to serve the city and help the department was a change in leadership, in the hope that would change the dynamics to move forward with the City Council.”
Durkan was quick to defend Antifa anarchists and other radical revolutionaries who commandeered a six block area of downtown Seattle to establish an autonomous zone after President Trump called them “domestic terrorists.”
The mayor said they were “lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights,” insisting the chaos seen in the street was “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”
Two people were shot and killed during the “peaceful expression,” to include a 16-year-old boy.
Chief Carmen Best is the first black woman to lead the @SeattlePD. She is well respected by the rank and file, as well as community leaders. Seattle’s political and activist class will have to own this. (END THREAD) pic.twitter.com/ivvHlwLYWz
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) August 11, 2020
On Monday, in a 7-1 vote, the city council approved a budget package to cut spending for the police department, KING-TV reported.
The measures cut about $3 million of the department’s $400 million annual budget this year and could result in a reduction of up to 100 police officers, according to the NBC affiliate — Black Lives Matter activists in the city were reportedly demanding a 50% cut to the department.
Best’s salary was also cut from $294,000 to $275,000 in the coming year, and that appeared to factor into her decision.
Chief Best has been vocal in her opposition to those cuts, and told me in an interview today that she felt targeted by a “punitive” proposal to cut her pay by 40%: “I do feel like it’s … animus toward me specifically.”
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) August 11, 2020
The lone dissenting vote came from councilmember Kshama Sawant — who wanted a greater cut.
“This budget fails to address the systemic racism of policing, trimming only $3 million from the bloated department’s remaining 2020 budget of $170 million just weeks after 6 of the 8 other Councilmembers publicly declared they would support defunding SPD by 50 percent, as our Peoples Budget and the Justice for George Floyd movement have demanded,” the radical Marxist politician said in a statement.
(She’s a member of Socialist Alternative, a Trotskyist political party that describes itself as a Marxist organization, a revolutionary party fighting for a socialist world.)
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
BLM just took a black womans job. As she was sympathetic to their cause. Smh
— ♡Ana♡ (@Radical_Ninja88) August 11, 2020
@SeattleCouncil is trash. I hope people of Seattle remember this whenever they are up for re-election.
— Maloney (@THMaloney) August 11, 2020
This sucks, the next chief will have to have the same beliefs, thoughts and policies as the city council. A yes woman/man. Not a good situation for law abiding citizens. Think Portland 👎🏽
— Joe Shmoe (@JoeShmoe818) August 11, 2020
I assume she, like most thinking people, will be moving the heck out of there. Always wanted to visit Seattle. Not anymore.
— John P (@joebeans2002) August 11, 2020
I dont know, this is on the incredibly weak and ineffectual city counsel. They “wrote the check”. The scc has been a debacle my entire adult life (a seattle native).
— gdee (@deesquint) August 11, 2020
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