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Disgusted with city council, Seattle’s female black police chief quits

Carmen Best, Seattle’s personable and popular police chief, is done with the Seattle City Council and will retire after a 28-year career with the Seattle Police Department and two years as chief during a tumultuous period of BLM protests.

Best said she wasn’t intimidated by the protesters who picketed her home, and said her neighbors protected her; but she criticized them, and also criticized a ban on use of tear gas and pepper balls against violent rioters.

Best took over a troubled department that had been investigated by the Justice Department for excessive use of force and was under court supervision for a time. Seattle has an aggressive police union that contributed to its problems.

Protesters demanded 50% cuts in SPD’s budget, but the city council so far has approved about $3 million of cuts, which includes pay cuts for the chief and top lieutenants, and layoffs of roughly 100 of the department’s 1,400 cops. Best said the pay cut wasn’t what drove her to quit, but rather she felt disrespected and not listened to.

A number of police chiefs have left or lost their jobs in the wake of anti-police protests engulfing the nation this year. How many? I don’t know, I’ve lost count. No doubt some of them needed to go, but the loss of Seattle’s police chief is throwing out the baby with the bath water; or, more correctly, slamming the door on the adult in the room. (Now you know what I think of Seattle’s city council. I have argued all along, through the protests, that we need better cops, not no cops; but my frustration with the council goes deeper. I don’t want business interests to dominate city government again, as they once did, but I want sensible people running things.)


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