Former Seattle police chief highlights trends in the movement to defund the police

Seattle’s former police chief Carmen Best, who resigned amid the far-left’s battle to defund law enforcement, said she is heartened to see a nationwide trend toward supporting the Blue Wednesday on “Fox News Primetime.” 

Best, the first Black police chief in Seattle’s history, left her post in September 2020, saying on her way out that the city council’s police budget cuts had put her in a “position destined to fail,” according to a report at the time.

Best told Fox News on Wednesday that she saw the legislative and activist actions toward Seattle police an “attack on me personally because I was disagreeing with the policies that they were putting out about defunding the department; laying off officers so arbitrarily.”

“Just out of nowhere there was a suggestion that they cut my salary. While I didn’t like that suggestion, that’s not the reason I ultimately left,” Best said. “It was that I just couldn’t stay there in an organization where they were going to strip so many officers of their jobs.”

Best then alluded to the spike in crime in Washington’s largest city, which reached its peak when violent left-wing activists established a lawless “autonomous zone” in a downtown neighborhood called Capitol Hill – which was dubbed CHOP and later CHAZ.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - 2020/06/23: A placard seen outside the western wall of Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone lists protester demands. (Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2020/06/23: A placard seen outside the western wall of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone lists protester demands. (Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

At the time, then-President Donald Trump criticized Washington Gov. Jay Inslee for inaction toward the occupants of the zone, and labeled the activists therein “domestic terrorists.

“I think that the pendulum is swinging more to a moderate and centrist position,” Best said of the time since CHAZ was dissembled. 

“[Y]ou don’t hear it as much about defunding the police department. Because people want safety. It doesn’t matter what race they are, they want to be able to call 911 and know if they’re a victim of a crime that someone is going to show up and try to resolve it.”

In New York, observers pointed out that term-limited left-wing Mayor Bill de Blasio is being replaced by Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat who is himself a former NYPD officer. Adams in turn ran against Republican Curtis Sliwa, founder of the anti-crime Guardian Angels group.

Best said that some “issues” that were brought up about policing have to be worked out in a way that results in a “fair and just response for everybody.”

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 22: Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the ceremonial ribbon cutting prior to tomorrow's opening night for the NHL's newest hockey franchise the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 22, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 22: Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the ceremonial ribbon cutting prior to tomorrow’s opening night for the NHL’s newest hockey franchise the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 22, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“But people do want to have police response. So I think now we are looking at how we can utilize other services to help augment maybe some of the issues that are happening – but certainly not defunding the police department,” said Best.

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“Obviously, we know that there are going to be times you are going to confront people who are intent on doing harm, some people are afraid – you don’t know what you are facing. Every single day, every traffic stop, could be nothing; could be somebody who just made a minor infraction and warning or citation involved. Or it could be somebody who is bent on doing something evil or, you know, hurting the officers. So we give a lot of training to officers about what to look for.”

“We know the wrongs happened and now it’s time to look at policies and procedures and practices that help us to make sure that we have fair and just practices for everybody.”

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