VIDEO: Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best explains why she’s leaving

(WSB file photo)

11:13 AM: One day after the City Council finalized budget cuts for Seattle Police, as a “first step” toward a dramatic change in public-safety delivery, there’s a big change that wasn’t in their legislation: Chief Carmen Best is leaving, two years after her promotion. Right now she and Mayor Jenny Durkan are holding a media briefing to discuss her plan to depart, and SPD’s future – you can click into Seattle Channel‘s livestream here (update: replaced with archived video):

We’ll add notes as it goes.

(Note – the video feed seems to be lagging so we’re taking notes from a listen line.) “When you know it’s time to go, it’s time to go,” opens Best, saying she “has no regrets. .. I love this department, I love this city,” and she tells her staff they will “always be in her heart.” She says she is “grateful” to Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz for agreeing to serve as interim chief, and declares him “more than ready” for the role. She says she has an “ask for the community” – “find a way to work together to put aside” personal & political conflict to “create solutions” for the city’s future. Her tone is very upbeat as she thanks a variety of supporters and co-workers, including department heads who are at the event. “I’m sorry to leave in some ways” – and she turns the mic over to the mayor.

Durkan begins with her voice cracking with emotion. “We’re facing an unprecedented crisis” – from the pandemic to systemic racism. “It’s been a hard, hard year, and today’s a hard, hard day.” She hails Best’s leadership and says she’s certain she’ll be leading elsewhere: “I wish she was staying.” Durkan says she and Best have had “many conversations” in recent weeks about her desire to retire. “Losing her is a deep loss for our city.” She says Best has dramatically diversified both the department and its leadership team. She says Best would have been “the right person to reimagine policing in this city” and says “deep conversation with community” was already under way, as were changes including collaborative policing and the return of Community Service Officers. After much touting of Best’s attributes, Durkan turns to recent events – ” “in the midst of disagreement, I hope we can find common ground” and then says she is “mystif(ied)” that the council didn’t consult Best. She assails the council for voting to cut Best’s salary, and no other department heads. “My message to the city council is and has always been, I remain willing to work with you.” But she also says she’ll uphold contracts; and she says transformation is “hard, painful work … the road is long.” She adds, “Council, if you want to go far, we have to go together.”

11:34 AM: Now she is talking about Deputy Chief Diaz: “I am certain he will continue this hard work.” He then takes the microphone, first with words of appreciation for the departing chief. “Our department has had some hard times” in his years, but this is “the most challenging,” he says, then insisting the department is committed to reform. The department already has “the nation’s most robust accountability” system, he says. But “we know much more is demanded of us” and he promises “we’re listening to you.”

11:41 AM: Now Q&A. Would Best work with the council now if they asked? She says now it’s up to Chief Diaz. Was there a last straw? She said she was disappointed not to see “a plan going forward,” and then reads a gratitude email from a recently hired Black officer, then saying she would likely have to lay him off under the council’s plan, subsequently saying: “Can’t do it.” She then says the council’s decisions show a “lack of respect for the officers.” In response to another question, she says their vote to cut her pay and that of her command staff seemed “vindictive” and “personal,” so maybe departing “will help the city and department move forward.” In response to another question, she says again that she doesn’t want to have to lay people off. And also, in terms of “political grandstanding,” she says, “I’m done with that.”

The mayor says she does not plan to launch a search for a permanent police chief this year: “What job would they be applying for?” A short time later, she also notes that the “unpredictable” budget climate would likely make it impossible to attract a good candidate.

12 PM: The mayor also gets in a dig at the council by noting none of them called to ask about the officers injured in protests that turned violent. … The chief says she was particularly “offended” that the council would “even consider” cutting her command staff’s salaries (a move she also called “illegal”). The mayor then accused the council of playing “mini-police chief” in trying to micro-manage the SPD budget. They could and should have given the chief a number to meet in cuts, and to let her decide how.

How will Chief Diaz try to work with the council as the 2021 budget process gets under way? He says he looks forward to them contacting him. The mayor, meantime, has said multiple times that she wants to hear from “all of Seattle” in crafting the future of public safety. She’s asked a while later about her harsh words for the council and how that’ll lead to collaboration. “I am willing to work with them, and I think we need to work together,” she says. “I want to work with this council.”

12:23 PM: Best gets the final word as the event ends, saying she has faith the city and the people in it “will do what’s right.” We’ll substitute the archived video above when it’s available.

1:30 PM: West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold has issued a statement about the chief’s departure, calling it a “staggering loss.” Read her entire statement here.

4:36 PM: Six more councilmembers’ statements:
*Joint statement from Councilmembers Lorena González, Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales
*Statement from Councilmember Debora Juarez
*Statement from Councilmember Andrew Lewis
*Statement from Councilmember Alex Pedersen
(added 10:02 pm) *Statement from Councilmember Dan Strauss
(added Thursday) Statement from Councilmember Kshama Sawant

152 Replies to "VIDEO: Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best explains why she's leaving"

  • no laughing matter August 11, 2020 (11:25 am)

    So disappointed to hear this news. Thank you for your service and leadership, Chief Best.

    • Real West Seattleite August 12, 2020 (10:53 am)

      To Lisa Herbold and Staff: Enjoy your last term… D1 is waking up to your mismanagement and political theater! You are making it impossible for middle class families And retirees  to live in this city! We need politicians who work for the people—not personal interests and vendettas. You got my vote twice and will NEVER get it again!  Sincerely, A “Real West Seattleite” 

  • A WS resident August 11, 2020 (11:30 am)

    What a shame! Disunity and finger-pointing all around with not a single good outcome in sight. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. 

  • SeattleJWG August 11, 2020 (11:40 am)

    Where’s the recall petition for Herbold, Mosqueda, and Gonzalez? They and more need to be recalled!

    • Gerry MacCamy August 11, 2020 (2:50 pm)

      To any people who are dissatisfied (no, disgusted) with the Council, and who did not vote last November when many of them got elected/re-elected:   Please vote in the future.

  • Frog August 11, 2020 (11:41 am)

    Cutting her pay was a personal slap in the face — essentially the city council telling her to leave — so not surprising she did.  Now she can retire with a six-figure pension, pick up a couple of corporate BOD positions, do some consulting on the side, and probably increase her income while no longer needing to deal with a bunch of spiteful dimwits on the city council.  Sweet deal for her.  For Seattle probably not so much.  Imagine how much they will need to pay someone to take the job.

    • Mark B August 11, 2020 (1:13 pm)

      Well they’ve set the high water mark at the $250K they voted to cut her to yesterday. I imagine they’ll have a really tough time justifying paying a replacement any more. To do so would admit it was personal. 

      • Nigel August 11, 2020 (3:29 pm)

        Chief Best was the first female person of color to be the chief of Seattle Police. If the city council raises the pay to attract a replacement they can expect to be sued for discrimination, and rightfully so!!! Of course the taxpayers will pay the bill.

  • Sam August 11, 2020 (11:46 am)

    The Council’s move to defund was criticized by Ron Sims and BLM King County, turns out it was a fringe movement after all.

    The Council is so foolish and isolated that they were scammed into a purity spiral by cry-bully cash app “protesters” — turns out they haven’t actually talked to people in the community!

    These people wouldn’t survive 10 minutes in a sane world.

    • sam August 11, 2020 (12:22 pm)

      I am not advocating violence! I just mean they wouldn’t survive politically.

    • onion August 11, 2020 (1:02 pm)

      In this mess there are the defund police folks, the police union, the city council, and then there are the mainstream citizens — us. Carmen Best was caught in an untenable position between the defunders, the council, and the union. It was an impossible position, really. She made the right call for herself. Unfortunately we the average citizens get the short end of the stick as the council and defunders on one hand and the union on the other hold the public good hostage.  What a mess

    • CatLady August 11, 2020 (1:12 pm)

      That’s right, because Black people are a monolith and obviously none of the other Black-lead orgs (that have been around longer than BLM Seattle-King County, or have done more on-the-ground work) matter at all! *eyeroll* Did you ever consider that different Black people would have different ideas about this? Just because one prominent Black-lead organization criticized the move, that doesn’t invalidate other Black-lead orgs/ make their desires “fringe.” Jesus.

      • Sam August 11, 2020 (2:43 pm)

        Read the article. It wasn’t just one org.

  • anonyme August 11, 2020 (11:46 am)

    The fact that it’s been a “hard, hard year” in good part reflects on Durkan’s poor performance and lack of accountability.  Seattle has become a laughing stock and fair fodder for conservative flame-throwing thanks to Durkan and the City Council.  Too bad Carmen is the one to leave; at least she looks happy, and she should be.  Seattle is a sinking ship in a sea of anarchy.

    • KM August 11, 2020 (4:19 pm)

      Honestly, who cares what conservative flame-throwers think?

      • rick_wa August 11, 2020 (4:56 pm)

        In this case i do.

  • WS2000 August 11, 2020 (11:53 am)

    The claim that the City Council did not consult Best continues to embarrass the Mayor.1) Councilmembers are directed NOT to talk directly to department heads when working on the budget.2) Instead, councilmembers work with staff in each department to understand each department’s budget – which the councilmembers did.So to say that the Council did not consult Best is technically true but deliberately misleading the public. The kind of thing one sees out of the other Washington all too often, and the reason many of us believe the Mayor and not Best should be the one resigning.

    • Peter S. August 11, 2020 (12:59 pm)

      >>  To to say that the Council did not consult Best is technically true but deliberately misleading the public. The kind of thing one sees out of the other Washington all too often, and the reason many of us believe the Mayor and not Best should be the one resigning<<Really?  If that is true, then why is Best resigning?  She seems to be a person of principles.  

  • Dunno August 11, 2020 (11:55 am)

    Let the teenagers and others take over the reins!!  They seem to know better.  Really, really sad day for the city of Seattle.

  • Sleepless in West Seattle August 11, 2020 (12:00 pm)

    Does anyone know if it is possible to recall Lisa Herbold? Her role in all of this has been embarrassing. 

    • West1 August 11, 2020 (12:32 pm)

      Perhaps if we protest every night (let’s say midnight) outside her house she will resign. This City council is pathetic. 

      • My two cents ... August 11, 2020 (6:12 pm)

        @west1 – Herbold resign? Ha! Think she is going to give up that salary? Never … she will be clinging onto position unless she can leverage it into something else. * And before people start replying, Herbold has consistently tried to portray herself as a “representative of the people” while looking for the easy headline.

      • SeattleJWG August 11, 2020 (6:18 pm)

        Count me in. 

        • M August 11, 2020 (9:31 pm)

          I would definitely vote to recall Herbold.  Fir the 2 at large, can we get them recalled too? I never voted for her.

    • GAM August 11, 2020 (12:46 pm)

      During the 2019 debates Herbold ran on expanding the police department and retaining police officers,  what happened?…   

    • Mike August 11, 2020 (2:26 pm)

      Good bye Lisa.  I voted for you, and hoped for you.  The police need change.  But not the irrational and vindictive actions you have taken.  Bye.

      • SeattleJWG August 11, 2020 (6:20 pm)

        I didn’t vote for her TWICE

  • Joe August 11, 2020 (12:05 pm)

    Thoughtful, intelligent, level-headed, empathetic, fair, well-spoken.Just the kind of person our city council can’t stand.

  • jsparra August 11, 2020 (12:06 pm)

    This life didnt matter…crazy world…good luck

    • Gwen August 11, 2020 (3:02 pm)

      Nobody killed Carmen Best.

      • Um, No! August 11, 2020 (5:40 pm)

        Ah, so racism is OK as long as the person isn’t killed. Got it!  

        • Gwen August 11, 2020 (9:18 pm)

          Was her pay cut because of her race? 

          • Scott Dolfay August 12, 2020 (12:07 am)

            No, it was cut because she told the truth; this made her dangerous the the current establishment.

  • August 11, 2020 (12:12 pm)

    This is a personal attack on Carmen Best.  How does the city council reconcile their actions with Black Lives Matter?  This is the wrong direction.  Vote ’em out!

    • Matt P August 11, 2020 (1:16 pm)

      She was the one in charge of the police when they started gassing peaceful demonstrations and then abandoned the east precinct instead of working out a solution.  She shouldn’t get a pass for that.  She was part of the problem not the solution.

      • Jake Levery August 11, 2020 (3:03 pm)

        How do “peaceful demonstrations” get gassed? What are police supposed to do when a mob element turns violent and starts destroying things? I see your same, tired response all over social media – it’s like you don’t understand the role police play in keeping law and order, like you live in a fairy tale world where violent actors can just be asked politely to calm down. 

      • Rick_ws August 11, 2020 (5:08 pm)

        I’m not convinced that the demonstrations were ever completely  peaceful.   And once the violence began, the peaceful protesters dodnt seem motivated to interfere. 

    • CatLady August 11, 2020 (1:21 pm)

      Nikkita Oliver summed it up well in a tweet: ” [Carmen] Best, as a Black womxn, chose a career in a racist institution. She then chose to accept the position as chief. She knew what she was getting into & has at every turn denied real responsibility for the violence & racism perpetrated by SPD.” The Council cutting her pay by $6,000 (out of an annual rate of $300,000) isn’t a “personal attack.” She was bad at her job, and she was either going to be fired or resign. She chose the option that ensures her a hefty payout. 

      • dftl August 11, 2020 (2:29 pm)

        Nikki isn’t a real politician, and tweets aren’t the real world – maybe the world of woke believe.

      • Waterbaby August 11, 2020 (2:53 pm)

        Puhleez. Nikkita Oliver ran for the office of Mayor. You know, another racist institution. Carmen has never denied anything. Everything is under investigation. There will be accountability unlike what will happen to the idiots who torched cars and buildings and who specifically instructed CHOP residents to pick up and hide casings after they shot a teenager.

      • BDawg August 11, 2020 (3:08 pm)

        Your information is incorrect. The cut to the Chief’s salary was more than $100,000, moving her salary well below the white woman who held the job before her. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Even when they don’t fit your woke narrative.

        • heartless August 11, 2020 (7:03 pm)

          The original suggested cut was more than 100k, which would have moved Best’s pay all the way down to $185,000.  The council did not seek that cut, and instead moved to cut the pay down to $294,000.  Which was, as pointed out to you, a small decrease.  Feel free to look it up.

          The numbers did move around over time, which might explain the confusion.

      • chemist August 12, 2020 (1:25 am)

        Part of why Best was re-considered as a finalist for Chief, even when only outsiders to the department made the first cut, was due to outrage and pressure from Nikkita Oliver that had her put back into the mix.  May 25, 2018  .@MayorJenny @CMLGonzalez @CityofSeattle this racist mess will not stand. Are you that uncomfortable with black people, let alone a black womxn, being in a position of influence? #fauxprogressive #SeattlePoliceOverseer

  • west admiral August 11, 2020 (12:22 pm)

    how dare our elected City Council officials respond to their constituent’s demand to hold SPD accountable? have you seen how they treat us like subjects and beat us and gas us? Do you really want to pay those in charge upwards of $400k / yr each for this ‘service’? SPD, like many police departments across America, has been operating as an above-the-law protection racket. Thank you City Council.

  • Bradley August 11, 2020 (12:24 pm)

    We should all be disgusted.  The right people to lead are being taken out. While people may not like Durkan, if she is the next target (and probably is) González is much scarier.   Plus the council would then select a replacement (Oliver?). 

  • quiz August 11, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    This is just awful. Can’t say I blame her for leaving.

  • Kadoo August 11, 2020 (12:31 pm)

    There is nothing just about reducing Best’s salary by 40%. I’d love to see the council recalled but it’s a long slow process. I have no faith in the current council. 

  • Arix Anders August 11, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    She is an amazing woman and role model! Intelligent. Pragmatic. Personable. Fair. Kind… What a loss for Seattle. Seattle cannot afford to lose much more. I really wish Ms. Best would run for mayor! Let’s get it started! 

    • KM August 11, 2020 (4:16 pm)

      Can’t run for mayor of Seattle if you don’t live here.

  • Mike August 11, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    A politicized grand stand against veto-proof budget cuts as elected official represent the 5-digits of defund demands they received in June and July due. What a way for Best to go out, though in fairness City Council made mistakes that led to this tactic being effective. Local politics this week and the discourse to come out of it is going to suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck (and prior comments really demonstrating why because holy hell).Related, if there is a Durkan recall petition going around at Farmer’s Market Sunday I’ll happily sign it. 

  • Bummer August 11, 2020 (12:34 pm)

    Chief Best seemed like the only adult in the room at times. Sorry to see her go

  • Simon August 11, 2020 (12:39 pm)

    Good luck to Chief Best. Hopefully in her future work she won’t deploy weapons prohibited by the Geneva Convention against people exercising their First Amendment rights. Hopefully she won’t use fear tactics against businesses and residents, stating that her team cannot offer protection without those weapons and carte blanche violence. Hopefully she will engage substantively in discussions of how we can improve communities and progress towards equity without state sanctioned violence and threats of violence. Hopefully she won’t terrify the public when she is asked by here bosses (in our case, the people via elected representatives) to make budget changes.  Generally she seems nice. Good luck to departing Chief Best.

  • Mark Schletty August 11, 2020 (12:41 pm)

    What the City Council did yesterday to Chief Best and her top staff was abhorrent. Herbold’s vote to slash Best’s salary was stupid and vindictive. But her statement that she so voted without any information about its significance demonstrated complete incompetence. No Councilmember should ever vote on such a significant measure without fully knowing and understanding the ramifications of the vote. She needs to be recalled for malfeasance in the performance of her duties. As well as her vote-getting misleading material campaign lie that she pledged to support increased funding and hiring for the Police Department.  

  • Brenda August 11, 2020 (12:42 pm)

    I’m going to go to Lorena Gonzales‘ house every night Just for 5 min…. maybe the other two also, I just live super close to the President. Wish I had a group going with me !!

  • Duffy August 11, 2020 (12:44 pm)

    Voting to reduce her pay was a slight, but let’s not lose focus on the fact that there needs to be some serious pay reform for police in this city. Read the Times article that came out yesterday. And save the arguments about “retroactive” pay; the fact still remains that the police pay system is fraught with mismanagement, no oversight and complete WASTE. The solution? Cap base and more importantly OVERTIME pay, have regular auditing of the system to ensure compliance with budget guidelines, and no more waste. End result? High end cops make less money, more budget is freed up to HIRE MORE COPS. We could use them, don’t you think?

  • Timothy August 11, 2020 (12:47 pm)

    Such a shame! Truly embarrassing city council. Not a single one of them had enough common sense and a spine to question this.DEFUND HERBOLD

  • Jort August 11, 2020 (12:53 pm)

    My only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to fire Best instead of letting her resign. She’s lied and lied throughout this moment in history and has proven herself ineffective at curtailing the lawless, intentionally escalating behavior of her thug officers. When she went out of her way to send out special congratulations and gratitude to the armed white trash of Snohomish that used the threat of firearms to suppress a peaceful protest, she was marked for gone. She could have been a good leader, but she chose to defend racist, oppressive cop ideology instead of listening to voices of change. Now she’s gone. And Jenny, you’re next. 

    • Thomas Wood August 11, 2020 (5:02 pm)

      You mean lied like lisa?

    • FiftyPercentAtLeast August 11, 2020 (5:20 pm)

      You said it, Jort. 👏👏👏

    • Plf August 11, 2020 (5:29 pm)

      Wow Jort, white trash?you would not be biased against “white” citizens that don’t agree with you?  Talk about stereotypes if someone made that comment about a person of color I would imagine you would find that inappropriate your comments are so ridiculous 

      • Um, No! August 11, 2020 (9:49 pm)

        So now we know Jort is a racist hypocrite.  

    • Seattelite August 12, 2020 (7:27 am)

      I’m not gonna lie, I saw Jort and expected something about bikes. But today I quite agree with these points. Thank you!

  • Kram August 11, 2020 (12:57 pm)

    How did any of what the city counsel passed help the cause of BLM (who is against the pay cuts publicly)? More generally, how is this helping when the next time a black person is confronted by an armed cop? What did the counsel do on Monday that will change those interactions? This is quick political grandstanding that will have no real results people are looking for. The saddest part is both sides agree on the core issue; Police reform is needed. Police agree with this in many areas too!

  • payattention August 11, 2020 (1:02 pm)

    Petition’s to recall can be started by anybody. Just need enough signatures.  Might be a good time for the no defunders to take a page from the protesters and march to the council members homes and see if they’ll come out and talk-or call the police on them

  • Mj August 11, 2020 (1:07 pm)

    Wow it’s not Chief Best who should resign it is the Council members who showed total disrespect for her and SPD

  • aRF August 11, 2020 (1:33 pm)

    I will miss Best. Defund scores an own-goal for BLM.

  • Outrageous August 11, 2020 (1:36 pm)

    Vote them out, starting with Lisa.  I wish the bar for recall was not so high, unfortunately we have to wait a year for the next round of elections.

    • M August 11, 2020 (9:40 pm)

      We have to wait 3 years for most of the council who were voted in last year.  That is why we need to recall them.

  • sgs August 11, 2020 (1:43 pm)

    The result of the council’s non-strategic approach to defunding 50% is that those who wanted 50% defunding are mad that they didn’t get it immediately and those that didn’t want defunding are mad at the approach, and those in the middle, but willing to consider, are frustrated that nothing seems to work with these people.  What happens to them when they get in that council building?   How about some high school level of leadership where planning and strategy lead the way.  I keep voting, but I guess more people want them.

  • KT August 11, 2020 (1:46 pm)

    Reducing the pay of police command staff is one of the  most petty political actions I have seen in my 65 years.  It rates right up there with Chris Christie’s “bridgegate”.  How does that “reimagine” Seattle PD?  It doesn’t is how.  It is purely political payback for the Chief’s standing up against their ill considered actions with this “defund” the police screaming.  Mob rules in Seattle now.  I suspect we have a city hall cabal (Mosqueda, Herbold, Gonzales, and Sawant) attempting a coup to advance their personal political ideologies that do not necessarily benefit the whole of Seattle.  

    • Zzyxx August 11, 2020 (7:17 pm)

      Retire a 55 with  6 digit pension? Nice work if you can get it

    • Gwen August 11, 2020 (9:53 pm)

      As far as I understand, 4 women legally elected into their positions doesn’t constitute a violent overthrow of a government.

  • AMD August 11, 2020 (1:48 pm)

    In general I agree it should be the Chief’s job to decide how their budget is allotted, but when the Council first started talking about cutting SPD budget, Best came out and said she’d cut the SW precinct and half the patrol officers first, so I’m kind of glad the council stepped in to ensure cuts weren’t made to the most essential services first.  Durkan hasn’t supported Best since Day 1 (remember when she wasn’t even considered for the job despite being the acting chief?) and threw her under the bus for the gross mismanagement of the ongoing George Floyd protest response.  That said, Best (who I once supported) has said and done a lot of things all on her own lately that have convinced me it’s time for new blood in that position.  I wish her the best of luck in the next phase of her life, and look forward to the upcoming search for a new police chief (if Durkan actually does one…  currently she’s saying she won’t look for a new chief because she doesn’t know how).

  • GWS August 11, 2020 (1:49 pm)

    Recall Seattle City Council, starting here in W Seattle with Herbold, Masqueda, and Gonzales. In the very least, cut their salaries by 6-10%. The council is clueless to think that cutting the SPD budget and personnel will resolve the biased policing issue.  Additionally, cutting of services will do nothing to resolve other social issues – such as homelessness. 

  • Joe August 11, 2020 (1:58 pm)

    Well, it looks like that plan backfired on them rather quickly. Great job City Council!  Can we start an initiative to defund them?

    • The King August 11, 2020 (3:57 pm)

      To plenty of us it is pretty obvious running Carmen Best out was the plan of the council. I guess I don’t understand the councils idea of progress by doing so to the only black woman to ever head this dept. 

  • Buh Bye August 11, 2020 (2:04 pm)

    Wow, I hope the fire department was on alert for this presser with all the GASLIGHTING from the mayor and police chief. The people demand accountability from the police, including the chief, but she preferred to shirk oversight and use gas on citizens, so…once the council made it clear that wouldn’t be allowed to continue, she decided to retire rather than be part of the reform. Good riddance. Very happy that Lisa Herbold is looking out for us all, along with almost all of our city council. This is just the start, though. We need to keep the pressure up to make Seattle better for ALL citizens. The mayor needs to help or get out of the way.Also, if some people here spent more time working for and supporting equality movements rather than complaining about protesters walking through their neighborhoods to chat with their elected representatives, maybe you’d get your precious silence back sooner.

  • mark47n August 11, 2020 (2:11 pm)

    In one of the first wild weekend protests there were 12,000 complaints filed against the SPD for police brutality. 12,000. Who, exactly, do you think would take the hit for this? The Chief of Police takes the hit.I have mixed feelings about defunding. There are certainly funding priorities that I would like to see changes, such as the demilitarization of the SPD, I would rather see the SPoG get their teeth pulled. I expect police to be held to the highest moral and ethical standards. Given the power that cops wield how can expect less? Fellow officers should expect the same from their coworkers. Alas, we don’t hold the police to those standards. We hear, often when the police are involved in violence, that the involved officers have extensive records of harassment, violence, etc. Officers records are cleared out even so many years (not sure what the number is any more) so no one ever really knows what those numbers really are.  Prisoners in cells are assaulted by jailers, cops, commit want acts of violence, politicians lie…all the tropes are true.So, given the above, why should I fund the police, such as they are? While I may believe that the police are a necessary evil (and I don’t really like that fact) the suck hole that modern policing has become in this country is pathetic.

  • A August 11, 2020 (2:19 pm)

    Lisa Herbold you are a disgrace to West Seattle. Do us all a favor and step down. You clearly are in over your head and have no business making any decisions for our city

  • Mel August 11, 2020 (2:19 pm)

    Mark47n- you do realize the majority of those complaints (I believe the number given was around 9000) were due to the girl getting pepper sprayed? One incident. And since it was also over social media, people who weren’t even there were filing complaints about it. People on Twitter were encouraging everyone who wasn’t there to file complaints on it to bombard their complaints dept. 

    • Mark47n August 11, 2020 (6:06 pm)

      Mel: 12,000 is the number that was reported from multiple sources. You cannot reasonably demonstrate that the incident in question generated, say, 10,000 calls.There are bad actors on both sides but I expect criminals to behave a certain way but the slack that we are expected to law cops for “doing their jobs” is a load of bollocks. We call it a riot when civilians run rampant as a mob but what do we do it when it’s the cops? The cops were recorded committing so many acts of violence and violating the rights of protesters and of the press. I call that a cop riot. The problem is that we arm them, we provide them with armor and shields. WE provide them with tear gas, pepper gas, and other “less lethal” means of dispersing crowds but then they use those weapons to create mayhem. This happened all across the country. Cops treated as a separate class but they are not. It’s time to divest them of that misapprehension. It’s time to make them truly accountable for their actions. 

      • Lbalm August 11, 2020 (8:28 pm)

        MARK47N: On June 2, KOMO reported 14,000 complaints filed, of which 11,000 were of the young girl in pain. Many of the complaints at that time were in response to 13 specific incidents. Also, the Office of Police Accountability maintains a website. For all current protests there are now over 18,000 complaints centering around 34 primary incidents. 

    • Lagartija Nick August 11, 2020 (6:53 pm)

      The girl getting pepper sprayed was the catalyst for the unrest that day. And instead of deescalating SPD doubled down and attacked the demonstraters en masse. Meanwhile the real criminals were free to loot, vandalize and set vehicles on fire with impunity BECAUSE the police were too busy terrorizing peaceful protesters. To dismiss that as just “one incident” is disgusting to say the least and does not account for the 3000 other complaints filed against the SPD that day. SPD under Best failed this city and it’s citizens from the very first day of these protests.

      • Lbalm August 11, 2020 (10:46 pm)

        LAGARTIJA NICK: On June 2, KOMO reported that 14,000 complaints had been submitted to the Office of Police Accountability. The response to the girl resulted in 11,000 complaints. Another 3,000 complaints were reported over several days and were related to 13 different incidents, some of which had been posted on social media. So, 14,000 complaints by individuals; 14 incidents by police. 

    • TreeHouse August 11, 2020 (8:42 pm)

      So how did Best and SPD hold the officer who pepper sprayed the little girl accountable after they received 9,000 complaints? I think a change in the tone at the top is a good thing here. Goodbye Chief Best. 👋🏻 

  • sallystraightpants August 11, 2020 (3:00 pm)

    Having worked with Chief Best for almost 25 years, I can tell you we lost a gem. Not only did she work her way up the ranks, she did so with humility and grace at a time when black women were not always welcome in a traditionally male occupation. Herbold and Co. should be ashamed. They knew exactly what they were doing and they did it with glee. Urban policing is a complicated job. The city council knows nothing about what officers deal with in this city. If money is so tight, why didn’t they cut the budget of every director and their staff? This was personal. They went after her like a gang of mean girls. SPD is a model for the nation. Ask any chief or sheriff in the country.

    • Beth August 11, 2020 (5:23 pm)

      Thank you! 💯 %

  • FiftyPercentAtLeast August 11, 2020 (3:13 pm)

    She quit because she didn’t want to fire anyone. Fire them all and rebuild a new department. No military weapons, no military uniforms, no SWAT, no gas or pepper spray, no cops in schools, no armed homeless sweeps, no misogynistic toxic masculinity. Serve and protect.

    • Jonathan August 11, 2020 (4:32 pm)

      Or you know, get walked over by criminals as a glorified hall monitor.

    • Findlay August 11, 2020 (6:17 pm)

      If you are so impassioned, I expect you to be apart of the new force. May be a revelation for you.

    • Treehouse August 11, 2020 (8:46 pm)

      100%. The force needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. No more war zone gear and equipment, it’s ridiculous. 

  • No one important August 11, 2020 (3:14 pm)

    I support the City Council and hope they stay the course.

    Change is hard.

    It can be scary.

    But this is important.

    Thank you, City Council!

    • WTF August 11, 2020 (5:22 pm)

      Thank them for what exactly?

    • A August 11, 2020 (5:59 pm)

      I support the city council as well and agree that change is hard and this is important. The council is going to have to make some very tough decisions due to the loss of revenue due to covid. I think they should start by looking at cutting the salaries and the number of council members our city has. We do not need nine of them. Five will be just fine and cut their salaries in half. We can determine the five based on race as Lisa suggested doing with laying off white police officers. Lisa, since you are white you need to step up and take one for the team. Lay yourself off. Do what’s right in the name of wokeness

    • CatLady August 11, 2020 (7:30 pm)

      I hope they do too. We’ve got a long, uphill battle ahead of us, but it’s worth it . 

  • Thomas Wood August 11, 2020 (3:19 pm)

    Lisa is already ducking and running for cover.Her statement about losing Chief Best  makes me want to throwup! Lisa lied  to us during her campaign,saying she supported the police.Then she turned around and stabbed us in the back. The reaction from the African American community is total outrage. I think Lisa needs some nighttime visit from the majority.

    • MArk47n August 11, 2020 (6:09 pm)

      Which majority is that? The one that elected her? Is that the majority that you’re referring to?

  • emy August 11, 2020 (3:21 pm)

    It’s time we march on the city council’s homes until we get whatever we think we deserve.

    • CatLady August 11, 2020 (7:28 pm)

      I love how much this is a recurring comment. If you want to put in the effort to organize peaceful marches to council members’ houses, there’s literally nobody stopping you. Don’t get mad about it just because you’re not doing it. 

  • Larry August 11, 2020 (3:48 pm)

    This city can function fine without any police. We’ve learned that when police show up, it’s far more dangerous than when they don’t. Social services is what we need instead and much more assistance for homeless. Amazon can pay for all the extras too. Let’s vote Biden and Harris

    • Sarah August 12, 2020 (10:13 am)

      I genuinely cannot tell if this is sarcasm or not.

  • Gatewood August 11, 2020 (3:49 pm)

    Lisa Herbold’s hypocrisy is staggering. Two days ago she wanted Best’s salary slashed by 40 percent; now she claims to be heartbroken that Best is going. I have reluctantly concluded that Ms. Herbold cannot be trusted. Vote accordingly.

    • Gwen August 11, 2020 (10:00 pm)

      Oh god, how could they cut her wage like that? It’s impossible to live on a salary of *checks notes* $185,000 a year.

  • Doug August 11, 2020 (3:54 pm)

    It is shameful that Herbold and her cohorts drove out Seattle’s first Black woman to serve as police chief. That is their sad legacy. They have failed us all. Herbold must resign. 

  • Mel August 11, 2020 (3:55 pm)

    For those unhappy about how much officers make because of overtime (and suggesting we just hire additional officers so some aren’t making that much), you do realize that it would actually cost more money to have an additional person on the payroll right? When you factor in benefits, training, etc it’s a lot less expensive to let people pick up the OT. It seems some people dont want more officers so that also wouldn’t work. In a 24/7 service with officer minimums (meaning the number of officers we need on patrol at any given time) you’re always going to have overtime-when people call out sick, vacations, when officers must go to court, when a scene or paperwork needs to be completed before they go home…

  • KM August 11, 2020 (4:10 pm)

    It takes a lot of strength to change your mind and learn in a position of leadership. I commend Lisa for listening and changing her tune regarding SPD. I wish more people would take this crazy time in our lives to relearn a few things—I know I could be doing more. It’s tough but necessary work if we want to live in a just society. I look forward to seeing the 2021 budget reflect a lot more reductions in militarized policing. 

  • flimflam August 11, 2020 (4:13 pm)

    Pathetic response from herbold, the same woman that admitted she didn’t really know what she was voting for and “regretted” the way she voted… This council is a joke and it’s astonishing that several of them were re-elected.

  • WTF August 11, 2020 (5:21 pm)

    This is indeed terrible news. City Council got exactly what they wanted and for them to have “statements” in Chief Best’s name is pathetic (hypocrites!) They should have the common decency to not say one word.

  • Chuck August 11, 2020 (5:37 pm)

    Why stay where you’re not wanted? I expect many of the experienced rank and file to soon follow her lead, further leaving the Seattle citizenry vulnerable. Get out before they throw you out, right? To think that as a taxpayer I am paying for a level of service and protection that is no longer afforded (and surgically removed at that to fit the far left agenda), but without any break in taxes. Same tax, less protection and safety—the “new” Seattle has arrived! No wonder she’s leaving. She wants no part of this farce and corruption that is the City Council.

  • WEST SEATTLE PERSON August 11, 2020 (5:37 pm)

    This entire city council is a total disgrace to the citizens of this city. For them not to engage in a conversation with the first African American Police Chief is sad. She was more than willing to work with this group and they discounted her. I am ashamed of the council members of this city. I would not vote for any of them for nothing. As far as I am concerned they can ALL GO AWAY.  This is a total disgrace and they are the laughing stock of the nation. Such a sad day to see a African American Female who worked her way up through the ranks be dismissed by a bunch of A Holes. I am so done with this City. I think council districts need to go away. If you want to be a council member you need to represent this city as  a whole. NO SPECIAL INTERESTS!!!  The voters and citizens of this city need to stand up, wake up and realize what is going on here and represent. Do not be afraid to defend what is right . Lisa Herbold you do not represent me. What just took place by these bunch of clowns is a total DISGRACE!!!

  • Drew August 11, 2020 (5:55 pm)

    I voted against Herbold, twice. What’s the matter with the rest of you?  The entire city council should be recalled. I can’t believe it’s come to this.  I’m embarrassed for our city. 

    • CatLady August 11, 2020 (7:17 pm)

      You’re welcome to leave if you hate it here. I voted for Herbold, don’t regret it. The City Council is doing what they were elected to do – represent their constituents. 

      • Anne August 11, 2020 (10:27 pm)

        Not this constituent she doesn’t. I voted for her-never thinking for a second that she would be a knee-jerk reactionary- I expected she would give thoughtful consideration to issues -looking at all sides & realize that change must be inclusive. Obviously I was dead wrong & deeply regret my vote. I won’t make that mistake again. I’m hoping that the whispers I’ve heard of a movement to cut SCC to 4 positions- & more importantly-4 AT LARGE positions becomes a reality. 

      • flimflam August 12, 2020 (6:23 am)

        catlady, none of these council members ran a campaign promising to slash the SPD budget and drive away the police chief….

  • waughtown August 11, 2020 (6:09 pm)

    Thank you for betraying us, Lisa Herbold!

  • Findlay August 11, 2020 (6:10 pm)

    It is shocking to watch the current Seattle City Council meetings. A quorum of activists have taken over the message and do not represent the majority of Seattleites.  It’s obvious that there is a loud well funded group of protesters that have the ear of the Council. In that, they don’t know what they are doing and are making it up their ‘plan’ like an adolescent. Unfortunately, the city will pay for their immaturity. Their ability to make law should be removed as this is the worst City Council hat have ever given the power to make big decisions. Wish they all would resign in shame.

  • CR August 11, 2020 (6:43 pm)

    This is a shame and a loss for the City of Seattle.  Forcing her out this early in the process for change that she could have been instrumental implementing in was a big miss.  I believe the the majority of the citizens of Seattle do not support current City Council and certainly not their approach to defunding the SPD without a well thought out plan.  They caved into a small and very well organized loud group.  Their committing to an immediate 50% defunding was ludicrous and history will validate that.Folks have not been happy with city government for years, but continue to make the same choices at the ballot box.  It’s really unfortunate that last years election was not this year.  If that were the case, either their behavior would have been be different or folks would finally have voted for change.  The problems the city is facing today with crime were well grounded pre-Covid, pre-Protest, and pre-the violence and looting that were allowed to occur during the otherwise peaceful protests.  The violence and crime will only accelerate in this new environment.  The criminals are now emboldened, the police are discouraged from confronting, and the prosecutors are unwilling to prosecute.  The criminals must be licking their chops.  Per prior articles on the WSB and related comments, the residents of West Seattle have wanted more police presence, not less.  Lisa Herbold is clearly ignoring the wishes of her constituents.  I mistakenly supported and voted for her the 1st time around and didn’t not the last time around.  I agree with the prior comments that she (and others)  should be recalled but also agree that it rightfully a high bar.  But if the movement catches fire, I’ll be first to sign on.While I am disappointed that the Alki area has deteriorated, my biggest concerned is for our neighbors in the less advantaged areas of West Seattle that have historically required more of a police presence.  These folks will suffer the most during this what will be a failed experiment.As for firing well trained and experienced officers to meet the budget….that won’t be necessary.  The voluntary departures will be significant and a huge loss.  Recruiting new officers to SPD is a well documented challenge and will only get worse.Not to be an alarmist, but we are for rough ride with unnecessary hardship as a result of the decisions and behavior (inflammatory rhetoric) of our elected officials.  I will be in attendance the next Mrs. Herbold holds a town hall and encourage the rest of West Seattle to show up as well. 

  • Seaweed August 11, 2020 (6:45 pm)

    Lisa Herbold; Proving Malcom X right again.
    Why so many words? simply to explain throwing the Chief under the bus.

  • OMG August 11, 2020 (7:22 pm)

    The entire Seattle government has to go. We have all seen the lies. While running for office it’s all about supporting the police and law and order. Once elected it turns to trying to not only defund the police, but they try to neuter them by not allowing non lethal methods of stopping a riot. Guess they would rather the police to shoot the rioters or not even try to stop them. Let’s start signing petitions for their removal. Enough already. Who is with me? Speak up and be heard.

  • Millie August 11, 2020 (7:49 pm)

    SallyStraightPants is spot on!   The City Council really should take a course in governance and what that entails.   Just look around the City – Pier 58 pulling away from newly-constructed seawall (over budget/not built on-time; West Seattle Bridge; roads/sidewalk construction maintenance, on and on and on.  Where is their oversight?   The City Council does not have the capability to decrease the Police Chief’s pay which is a personnel issue and handled by the appointing authority.  Yes, they do have the final approval over departmental budgets and capital projects.

  • Dale August 11, 2020 (9:07 pm)

    It will be years before we have another chance to remove Herbold from office.  She is a master at dazzling the voters with rhetoric and claiming false accomplishments during the election season.  I hope, next time, all of you calling for her removal remember what she did.  She bases her career on the short term memory of voters.

  • GOP in WS August 11, 2020 (9:15 pm)

    When are Kshama Sawant and Dan Strauss releasing their statements about the retirement of Chief Best?

    • WSB August 11, 2020 (10:02 pm)

      Strauss has since released his. (Adding above.) Haven’t seen one from Sawant, at least not on the official council site that everyone else has used.

    • Stickerbush August 13, 2020 (8:03 am)

      Strauss was interviewed on KUOW right after the press conference with Durkan and Best. He denied that the council cut Best’s salary and implied that she was lying about Council not reaching out to her to work on SPD reforms. How did this guy ever get elected?

  • T August 11, 2020 (9:47 pm)

    I’ve never met a good cop.  I worked an Aurora Ave closure a few years back and a guy came into the jobsite who we thought was having some mental issues. I walked to the SPD at the nearest crossroad and let them know we had someone in some sort of distress.  Their response was to grunt, roll their window up and drive off never to be seen again.  We ended up calling 911 to get an ambulance out there.  I watched another SPD officer block a lane on 15th Ave over in Ballard so they could go into Jimmy John’s and order their lunch.  SPD will show up fast if it’s a business having problems, but if you’re a citizen and call for them, you’ll be waiting an hour minimum.  Starbucks will notice a 50% budget cut to SPD and their response times, but you and I won’t.1312

    • John August 11, 2020 (11:03 pm)

      Wow. And I never met a bad cop.If we defund we won’t meet any cop when we need one.Just puppies and unicorns,

      • Sarah August 12, 2020 (10:14 am)

        John, 100%

    • D Del Rio August 12, 2020 (6:23 am)

      By far most of the police I have encountered have been great. Are there a few bad apples? Of course there are, but the vast majority are here to protect and serve. With our current city council, the police hands are tied. Homeless are allowed to camp where they want and leave garbage, human waste, and used needles. Drug dealing and stealing are a major problem for downtown businesses, etc. They are understaffed, and unless somebody its getting shot, your wait will now become even longer.  Make it easier to get rid of the bad ones, not layoff even more. That’s what we should be fighting for. 

    • overthehill August 12, 2020 (9:02 am)

      The larger the diversion program, LEAD, gets, the more the police have to turn a blind eye. In a neighborhood crime meeting we were told by 2 local officers that their hands are so tied by having to allow LEAD to make the first move, they’re powerless in many situations. As the enabling broken system grows, the worse the streets will become.

  • Mark B August 11, 2020 (10:45 pm)

    The Councilmembers’ statements were a predictable mix of after-the-fact conciliation with a little backtracking (“I didn’t vote to cut salaries”) thrown in.  Bonus points for CM Lewis for thanking Best for providing access to staff to discuss budget. CM Lewis, please be an adult and say you disagree with Best’s claim that she/the PD weren’t consulted on cuts. I doubt the direct approach could’ve ruffled feathers any further than your passive-aggressive “thanks.”

  • Anne August 12, 2020 (7:37 am)

    In October 2019 Lisa Herbold -was running for re-election- vowing to hire more police officers-supporting the $10,000 hiring bonus. Fast forward less than a year-what an about face. Like so many politicians-say one thing to get elected- do another when in office. 

    • Mark B August 12, 2020 (1:02 pm)

      Her explanation for the shift is linked upthread.  She said her view changed because she read, researched, and listened – all of which I would expect to occur BEFORE she takes a stand or votes (e.g. her vote on salary cuts without all the facts). She also mentions the recent national dialog on policing as an influence. I find it very difficult to believe that a self-described “public safety advocate” who was a “community organizer in low-income communities of color” would have been unaware of those issues prior to the murder of George Floyd. 

  • Kulac August 12, 2020 (8:53 am) the petition to recall Lisa Herbold

  • anonyme August 12, 2020 (12:20 pm)


  • Colonel Mustard's Wrench August 12, 2020 (12:35 pm)

    Per King 5 News, the process to recall a Seattle City Council Member:                                                     State law lays out an intensive and multi-step process that begins by filing a statement of charges with the elections officer, in this case King County. The voter who brings forward the charge would have to make a case for “malfeasance” or “misfeasance,” defined as wrongful conduct that interferes with the performance of an official duty.                                 The prosecutor’s office would then have to determine whether the case should go before a Superior Court Judge.                                                                                                        The court process would have to weigh in before signature gathering could even begin.                                                                                                                             Would someone like to make the case of malfeasance against Lisa Herbold to a Superior Court Judge ?  That would be our first step in the process to get rid of her.After a Superior Court Judge green lights the signature gathering, I will definitely sign.  She deceived her constituents.

  • Alex S. August 12, 2020 (3:15 pm)

    A better & easier idea would be filing an initiative to shrink the size of the council to 7 or 5, and to go back to city-wide elections.  Before 2004, we had a sane balance on the council – after the Districts Now initiative in 2004 we got radicals like Sawant and Mosqueda and a race to the virtue signaling bottom.  Before 2004 we had city council members who helped people with basic constituent services; now, ideology & activism is the only currency, and all our emails and calls are simply ignored unless we express our undying support for them. 

  • Not a transplant August 12, 2020 (9:58 pm)

    Carmen Best, thank you for your public service.  You represented Seattle well.  Future Mayor Carmen Best has a nice ring to it.  

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