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SPD Chief Best pens letter to city council after crowd marches to her home

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Demonstrators have been marching nightly in the Seattle area, previously stopping at homes of city councilmembers and King County Executive Dow Constantine. A crowd made its way to a Snohomish County home owned by Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best this weekend.

Crowd marches to King County Executive’s home Thursday

Chief Best, who according to a statement from Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, was not at the residence at the time of the protest, described the visit as large, aggressive, and concerning to neighbors. She penned a letter to Council President Lorena González, asking her and the rest of the council to call for an end to the tactics of showing up at homes of elected officials and civil servants.

“These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation,” she said. “Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics.”

Best says the crowd tried to trespass and engage in other non-specified illegal behaviors, but was stopped by neighbors. Residents reportedly blocked a road leading into the neighborhood, with one posting a photo of a firearm on social media. The Snohomish County Sheriff is monitoring the situation, not the Seattle Police Department.

Protesters were also at the home of Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda in West Seattle on Sunday night, and spoke to her for roughly an hour. Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Lorena Gonzalez, as well as Executive Constantine, have similarly engaged with demonstrators outside their respective homes in recent weeks.

Councilmember Tammy Morales responded to Best’s letter during Monday morning’s council briefing.

“I have to say, I take exception to the response by our police chief, who celebrated that her neighbors met these young people with guns when they were exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully protest on a city street,” she said. “I know that this is a hard time for all of us, … we won’t agree with everyone, but I think we need to make sure that these young people are not met with armed neighbors … when they are asking for things from their elected officials.”

Chief Best’s letter to the Seattle City Council is included below in full:

Dear President González, Chairwoman Herbold, and Seattle City Council Members:

I wanted to update you on recent events, particularly those that occurred late last night.

A residence of mine in Snohomish County was targeted by a large group of aggressive protestors late last night. My neighbors were concerned by such a large group, but they were successful in ensuring the crowd was not able to trespass or engage in other illegal behavior in the area, despite repeated attempts to do so. Currently, the local sheriff (not SPD resources) is monitoring the situation.

I urge both of you, and the entire council, to stand up for what is right. These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation. Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics.

The events of this summer were initiated in a moment of grief and outrage over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and so many other Black and Brown people suffering at the hands of injustice. All of us must ensure that this righteous cause is not lost in the confusion of so many protestors now engaging in violence and intimidation, which many are not speaking against.

Sincerely,
Carmen Best
Chief of Police
Seattle Police Department

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to continue discussing amendments for a revised 2020 budget Monday, Aug. 3. The council committee will vote on a final budget Aug. 10.

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