News and Commentary

AG Barr Responds To Seattle Police Chief’s Resignation Following City Council Cutting Police Funds
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 11: Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announces her resignation at a press conference at Seattle City Hall on August 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Her departure comes after months of protests against police brutality and votes by the City Council to defund her department by 14%.
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr responded to Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best’s abrupt decision to resign on Monday night, saying that her decision to resign was the result of “irresponsible proposals to defund the police” from state and local leaders.

Best’s resignation came after the Democrat-controlled Seattle City Council voted on Monday to cut millions of dollars in funding from the police department and had targeted Best’s salary, proposing cutting it by 40%.

Best wrote on Twitter that her decision was not about the money but was about “the disrespect shown all SPD officers.”

“The Council gave us $1.6 million to hire the best, brightest and most diverse. Now they want me to layoff 100 of those officers. I can’t do that,” Best wrote, adding: “I don’t want the people who work for me to be impacted by the animus directed toward me. That animus felt personal.”

Barr responded to Best’s announcement on Tuesday afternoon in a statement:

I was disheartened to learn of the resignation of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. Her leadership and demonstrated commitment to her oath of office reflected all that is good about America’s law enforcement. In the face of mob violence, she drew the line in the sand and said, “Enough!”, working tirelessly to save lives, protect her officers, and restore stability to Seattle. Her example should be an inspiration to all who respect the rule of law and cherish safety and security in their communities. This experience should be a lesson to state and local leaders about the real costs of irresponsible proposals to defund the police.

Best’s resignation comes after the Seattle City Council announced that it was cutting roughly $3 million from the budget, including:

  • Cut 32 officers from patrol – $533,000
  • Reduced specialized units including officers assigned to mounted unit, school resource officers, homeland security, harbor patrol, SWAT team – $250,000
  • Removed officers from Navigation Team, ensuring homeless neighbors are not retraumatized by armed patrol officers – $216,000
  • Reduced staff budget through recognizing expected attrition – $500,000
  • Reduced administrative costs, including salaries, community outreach, public affairs
  • Cut $56,000 from training and travel expenses
  • Cut recruitment and retention – $800,000
  • Transferred victim advocates from SPD to Human Services Department – $377,000 impact
  • Removed two sworn officer positions from the 911 Emergency Call Center

Best’s home was also recently targeted by “aggressive” left-wing activists and Best said her 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.”

In response, Best urged the Seattle City Council to “stand up for what is right.”

“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 wrote. “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 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,” Best concluded. “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.”

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