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
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
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”
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
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
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