Tag Archives: Carmen Best

BREAKING: Claims in Fmr. SPD Chief Best Video Discredited by OEM the Day Before

SPD Publicly Released Video Without Clarification

by Carolyn Bick


The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.

In the late morning of June 11, 2020, shortly before 11 a.m., the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released a video of its now-former Chief Carmen Best relaying a message to officers, following the internal and public fallout of the Seattle police’s decision to abandon the East Precinct.

In that video, Best claimed that SPD had received reports of armed people patrolling the area, and that these same armed people “may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for some of that protection. We’ve also heard that they may be demanding to see identification for people who live in the area. This is not legal.”

But about 17 hours earlier, at 6:10 p.m. on June 10, 2020, Best — along with several other high-ranking City officials, including a host of core mayoral staffers, as well as SPD Assistant Chief Thomas Mahaffey and now-interim Chief Adrian Diaz — received an updated ground intelligence report email from then-acting Dir. of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Laurel Nelson. The report specifically stated that the above claims about extortion and identification demands were untrue, per an OEM staffer’s site visit to investigate the claims.

Continue reading BREAKING: Claims in Fmr. SPD Chief Best Video Discredited by OEM the Day Before

BREAKING: Texts Show Fmr. SPD Chief Best Involved in Plan to Abandon East Precinct

by Carolyn Bick


The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.

During interviews with the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) in 2021, after her retirement, former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told investigators she was not involved in plans to abandon the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on June 8, 2020. But text messages obtained by the Emerald tell another story.

According to texts between Best and Assistant Police Chief Lesley Cordner, it appears that Best was in contact with former Mayor Jenny Durkan about the Seattle Police Department (SPD) removing items from the East Precinct and that she was aware, on the morning of June 8, 2020, of a plan to remove firearms, ammunition, and evidence from the building by 5 p.m. that day. (Note: The Emerald has redacted phone numbers that appeared in the above-linked text log transcript.)

This is not what Best told OPA investigators, according to the OPA’s Case Closed Summary (CCS) on the matter, and not the story she continued to tell media almost a year after the incident.

Continue reading BREAKING: Texts Show Fmr. SPD Chief Best Involved in Plan to Abandon East Precinct

OPINION: The Importance of Nuance in Confronting Racism

We asked two community members to weigh in on Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announcing her retirement from SPD. Their two viewpoints follow.


by George Griffin III

Carmen Best is a friend. Good people. Classy, strong. She deserved better. 

After everyone gets through scapegoating the Seattle City Council and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests for her resignation, maybe we should take a good hard look at Seattle’s years of inactivity when People of Color and other people said the department needed some serious reform and restructuring. This lack of attention to the concerns of People of Color and allies contributed to the Seattle Police Department ultimately being placed under the current consent decree after an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2012. Do we need to be reminded how, when Best was interim chief in 2018, she was disrespected and passed over by the current mayor in the initial interview process and how she only got the job after communities of color and allies spoke up? Many prominent people were quiet at that time because they didn’t want to criticize their friend, the new mayor.

Continue reading OPINION: The Importance of Nuance in Confronting Racism

Police Chief Carmen Best Explains Her Decision To Resign; Durkan Says No Search For Replacement This Year

By Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement)

In a press conference Tuesday morning that she insisted was not “a wake,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said she is stepping down on September 2 because, in her words, “When it’s time, it’s time.” Continue reading Police Chief Carmen Best Explains Her Decision To Resign; Durkan Says No Search For Replacement This Year

Durkan, Best Decry Council’s Proposed SPD Budget Cuts as Too Fast, “Wrong Year”

by Paul Kiefer

(This article was originally published on the C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission)


In a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the City Council’s proposal to cut the Seattle Police Department’s remaining 2020 budget by about $3 million with backhanded praise, saying the council was “looking in the right places but in the wrong year.”

In her remarks, Durkan emphasized that any major reforms to SPD will take a year or more to implement because of the combined challenges of the pandemic, the West Seattle Bridge closure, and (ironically) months of protests. “2020 is not the best playing field to discuss further reductions to SPD and reinvestment in community,” Durkan said. Continue reading Durkan, Best Decry Council’s Proposed SPD Budget Cuts as Too Fast, “Wrong Year”

Seattle Police Chief to Mayor: Take Cops Out of the Process for Diversion Referrals

by Erica C. Barnett


(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 

For months, the Public Defender Association’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which has pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic to a hotel-based model (called Co-LEAD) that connects unsheltered people to resources, has been unable to enroll those living in encampments in Seattle, although they have had success in Burien and with people leaving the King County Jail. The reason for the lengthy delay is that the Seattle Police Department (SPD), which serves a gatekeeper role for most LEAD functions, has not signed off on the list of people LEAD wants to enroll. As a result, dozens of hotel rooms that could shelter new LEAD clients have been sitting empty for months while LEAD has waited for SPD’s approval. Continue reading Seattle Police Chief to Mayor: Take Cops Out of the Process for Diversion Referrals

After Sweeping Protest Zone, Durkan Says City Will “Memorialize” Protests, “Reimagine Policing” In Seattle

by Erica C. Barnett


About 10 hours after Seattle police officers moved in to remove barriers, tents, artwork, and people from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area Wednesday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan, police chief Carmen Best, and other department heads called a press conference to explain their actions. Continue reading After Sweeping Protest Zone, Durkan Says City Will “Memorialize” Protests, “Reimagine Policing” In Seattle

Photos: Storm Fans Celebrate Third WNBA Title

by Susan Fried

Thousands of people lined the streets around Seattle Center for a parade and filled Key Arena for a rally Sunday, September 16, for the WNBA Champion Seattle Storm. The team traveled a short distance around the Seattle Center in trolley cars to the Key Arena, where they were greeted by the adoring fans and a few dignitaries including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell. Six-thousand people filled Key Arena and heard from the players and owners, watched highlights from the season, and cheered wildly when veteran Sue Bird said that she would be back next year for her 17th season.

Continue reading Photos: Storm Fans Celebrate Third WNBA Title

Durkan Picks Carmen Best as New Seattle Police Chief

by Neal McNamara

(This article originally appeared on Patch.com and has been republished with permission.)

SEATTLE, WA — Carmen Best was selected as the new Seattle police chief, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. Durkan will make the selection official at a press conference scheduled for [today] Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

Continue reading Durkan Picks Carmen Best as New Seattle Police Chief