Seattle PD's 1st Black female chief Carmen Best resigns after 'defund police' vote, Internet rallies in support
In an emotional letter to the department, Best revealed she would be retiring from the force on September 2 after serving more than 28 years on the front lines
Seattle's first Black female police chief Carmen Best has announced Monday she was resigning from her position after a city council vote approved slashing law enforcement budget by a whopping $4 million and laying off as many as 100 officers from their jobs. Nonetheless, the decorated officer appeared to win several hearts on social media as hundreds backed her renegade stance against the 'Defund The Police' movement.
In an emotional letter to the department, Best revealed she would be retiring from the force on September 2 after serving more than 28 years on the front lines. Following Best's resignation, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan appointed Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz as the interim chief of the department. It was Durkan who had picked Best to lead the city's police force in 2018, KING-TV reported.
“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times,” Best wrote in the letter. “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 email, which was obtained by local radio host Jason Rantz, mentioned that Best's retirement will be effective from September 2.
“I wanted you to hear this from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own,” she continued. “This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.”
Mayor Durkan said in an email to police that she accepted Best's resignation "with a very heavy heart."
“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 wrote.
The measures approved by the city council would slash a whopping $4 million of the department’s already thin annual budget. Furthermore, the council agreed to remove at least 100 officers from the department's police force via layoffs and attrition. Besides, they agreed to slash Best's roughly $285,000 annual salary as well as the pay of other top police leaders in the city. Meanwhile, they also decided to disband a team that removes homeless camps in the city.
But Council Member Kshama Sawant was still not happy with the budget package. According to her, it did not do enough to defund the police.
“This budget fails to address the systemic racism of policing," she said in a statement on Monday. “A budget that does not meet basic social needs and that continues to throw money at a racist, violent institution is a failed budget."
On the other hand, Best wrote in her email that she was looking forward to “seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety. I relish the work that will be done by all of you.”
Twitterati showered the veteran policewoman with love and support following her resignation.
"When our city leaders turn their backs on our officers time and time again, the good cops quit. The #DefundthePolice movement has consequences," Congressman Rep. Doug Collins tweeted.
"Carmen Best carries herself with dignity has been a steady voice of reason. The council is insane," Political analyst Mike Doran wrote.
Carmen Best carries herself with dignity has been a steady voice of reason. The council is insane. | Carmen Best, Seattle's first Black female police chief, resigns after the city council voted to cut the police budget without even consulting her. | https://t.co/nb2vzhmJoM— Mike (@Doranimated) August 11, 2020
"Something to keep in mind as Chief Carmen Best resigns from the SPD: a recent poll showed her as the *most trusted* person to handle police reform in Seattle. She polled better than the Mayor & Council. Will this finally be a wake-up call for residents?" radio host Rantz tweeted.
Something to keep in mind as Chief Carmen Best resigns from the SPD: a recent poll showed her as the *most trusted* person to handle police reform in Seattle. She polled better than the Mayor & Council.— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) August 11, 2020
Will this finally be a wake up call for residents?https://t.co/3hGWrXIWpB
"Carmen Best was the first black police chief in Seattle history. This is what the 'Defund The Police' crowd did," another added.
Carmen Best was the first black police chief in Seattle history.— Cameron Cawthorne (@Cam_Cawthorne) August 11, 2020
This is what the “Defund The Police” crowd did. https://t.co/nAGIupO4N8