During an interview on Jerry Ratcliffe’s "Reducing Crime" podcast, former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best slammed mainstream media for not giving "the level of publicity or media attention" to the protesters' "destructive behavior" during the George Floyd riots last summer.
Carmen Best was Seattle’s first black female police chief and she made the decision to resign last September after Seattle City Council voted to cut $3 million to SPD’s budget.
The budget cuts reduced Best’s pay and would’ve forced her to fire 100 officers, a move she said she couldn’t make and said she resigned due to the City Council’s "disrespect shown to all SPD officers."
"The Council gave us $1.6 million to hire the best, brightest and most diverse. Now they want me to layoff 100 of those officers. I can’t do that," Best wrote. "I don’t want the people who work for me to be impacted by the animus directed toward me. That animus felt personal."
While speaking with Ratcliffe, Best said, "I would read stories about the peaceful protests. I go, ‘Well, part of it was peaceful.’ But I was standing 20 feet away from a hail of rocks. I was looking right at them hail down, feet from me. I was behind a telephone pole."
Ratcliffe responded to Best’s comments saying, "And then you read the media and find that they’re pretty much gaslighting you. It never happened."
Best added that mainstream media’s reporting on the riots left her confused after they consistently claimed the obvious riots were "peaceful protests." She couldn’t believe the backwards commentary that faulted police officers for their inappropriate use of crowd control measures while rioters frequently assaulted officers, destroyed property, looted businesses, and set fires.
Best defended the Seattle Police Department’s response to the riots and said, "We were trying to look as non-threatening as possible, maybe not have the riot shields up. But once we know we’re going to be getting rocks and bottles thrown at us, I have a responsibility as a chief to make sure people have protecting gear. We can’t just leave them out there with soft hat and rocks are being thrown and whatever."
The death of George Floyd sparked deadly riots in Seattle perpetrated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa that lasted for more than nine months, which included a six block armed takeover of the city to create an "autonomous zone," what many referred to as an insurrection.