Seattle’s woke city council effectively pushed out the city’s first black female police chief, Carmen Best, on Monday. After the council voted to defund the police — and to specifically cut the annual salary of Best and other top officers — the police chief saw the writing on the wall and resigned. According to a source, she is resigning over the council’s decision to cut her pay and hamstring police, along with its refusal to denounce the marches to her house. Yet, in announcing her resignation to her fellow police officers in a letter on Monday night, she offered a glimmer of hope to the demoralized local law enforcement.
Best told her fellow officers that she wanted them to hear of the resignation “from me, but some media have reached this conclusion on their own.” She thanked Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) but focused her praise on the officers who are facing a rising tide of hatred and the loss of their leader.
“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times,” she wrote. “You truly are the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.”
“I am impressed daily at your skill, your compassion, and your dedication,” she added. Best also announced that her command team will continue to serve the department under the leadership of Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz.
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She closed her email with a heartfelt thanks to the department. “You are my family. You will always be in my heart. We have had tough times before and come out better on the other side. I am glad I pushed through each of those tough times with you,” Best wrote.
Her last line might perhaps serve as a warning as well as an encouragement: “Remember to take care of one another.”
The police chief acknowledged the tough times ahead — the city council gutted the police budget after it had previously kneecapped the police by banning the use of what they would need to defend themselves from violent rioters. The resolution to defund the police cut her salary specifically, just a few weeks after the rioters targeted her home for harassment. Best herself had written a letter to business owners in downtown warning that police would not be able to help them face the angry mob. In the face of the riots, the city council is bowing to antifa and restraining the forces of law and order.
Yet the police chief’s letter to fellow officers suggested that this is a temporary state of affairs. Best urged the department to “please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.”
In other words, she is predicting a backlash to this reckless anti-police hatred. The defunding and disarming of police will not continue unabated. As Seattle faces more violent antifa riots, the citizens will step up and demand an end to the assault on police.
It may be hard to see the light at the end of this tunnel now, but Carmen Best insisted that there is one. Even after the city council voted to slash her salary, lay off up to 100 police officers, and remove officers from a team that dismantles homeless camps, she still has hope that a backlash will restrain this dangerous anti-cop hatred and allow police to restore law and order.
I’m skeptical. From my perspective, it seems like the residents of Seattle broadly share the far-left worldview of the most vocal antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters. Yet some local businesses have sued the city for its refusal to protect them from the ravages of the Capitol Hill
Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Occupied Protest (CHOP). Perhaps the people of Seattle are waking up to the fact that this relentless campaign against law enforcement is disastrous. Carmen Best, who knows Seattle infinitely far better than I do, may have picked up on the public mood. Perhaps police do indeed have reason to hope.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.