Seattle police chief Carmen Best resigned on Monday evening after the city council voted to cut some funding to the police budget and eliminate jobs for 100 officers.
Best, who is Seattle’s first African American police chief, will be retiring after 28 years on the force. Her retirement comes after police were told to stand down and allow George Floyd protesters to take over a six-block area of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, as well as protests outside Best’s home. The council also decided to cut Best’s salary from $285,000 to $172,000, well below that of her predecessor.
“This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time,” Best wrote to officers in her resignation letter. “I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times. 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.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement that “Chief Best was the person to lead our city through this challenging time, to reimagine policing and community safety. Her leadership is unmatched nationwide, which is why it is a sad day for our City to lose her.”
After protesters declared the “autonomous zone” on Capitol Hill, Best warned that police were not able to respond to 911 calls in the area. After four shootings occurred in the zone, most protesters dispersed willingly while police cleared holdouts from the area.