Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has been the rare voice of reason in a city that seems to believe maintaining the rule of law is a privileged, bourgeois concept.
She pointed out, before multiple murders occurred, that allowing a “no cop co-op” like CHAZ/CHOP to persist may not be the wisest idea.
She told the Seattle City Council, as officials tried to ban crowd-control measures like pepper spray, that it would mean police would either have to disengage from violent mobs or use more violent methods — i.e., batons and worse — to retain control of the situation.
So naturally, protesters targeted her house.
Roughly 200 individuals, some carrying Black Lives Matter signs, descended Saturday evening on Best’s home in Snohomish County, north of Seattle — and they weren’t just demanding Best resign or anything anodyne.
On what the Lynnwood Times described as “the road of a small, quiet, and quaint residential community,” demonstrators decided it was time to try to intimidate Best and the residents.
And no, that’s not just a conservative engaging in hyperbole, trying to cast aspersions on peaceful protesters. Peaceful protesters don’t, for instance, yell profanity at Best’s neighbors.
Nor do they write down the license plate numbers of vehicles in the neighborhood. Or take pictures of the homes. Or ask kids in the neighborhood what school they go to.
According to firsthand witnesses, that’s exactly what the Black Lives Matter demonstrators were doing.
The crowd was described by the Lynnwood Times as “mostly white men and women in their twenties, [who] were dressed in black with masks and black hoods.”
I’d venture a guess the masks had less to do with flattening the curve and more to do with the fact they only wanted the collection of personal information to work one way.
“They were very organized. They had radios, talking to each other,” one resident said.
“They had numbers they used to decal all their cars for who knows what. So, they were identifying all their vehicles individually by number. They came with a mission. … They were out here intimidating us.”
There was a confrontation when protesters with duffel bags reportedly attempted to approach Chief Best’s residence. When challenged by residents to show the contents of the duffel bags, they demurred.
According to KING-TV, Best wasn’t home at the time.
If this was about intimidation, the tactics worked.
“I feel incredibly unsafe,” one neighbor said.
“We think it will happen again,” the neighbor added. “Their objective was not completed; they never made it to her house, we stopped them … so we think they will be back.”
Protesters, meanwhile, claimed the neighbors, who formed a perimeter to protect Best’s home, were the aggressive ones.
“All we were doing was walking and they met us with guns; I don’t know who the aggressor is at that point, but I don’t think it’s us,” protester Nicole Gitaka told KING.
“Nobody from us approached that situation with aggression, nobody went there like [we] were going to mess up the neighborhood,” Gitaka said.
“Our main objective, the only thing we’re going to do, was march down to Chief Best’s house, make some noise, ask some questions, and go, that’s what was going to happen.”
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive:
Protestors on their way to harass the Seattle police chief @carmenbest at her home, encountered locals who were not in the mood to host protests in their neighborhood.
Protestor: “We are peaceful! You pointed a gun at my face!”
Resident: “That’s why you are peaceful.” pic.twitter.com/QU0FzwReNG
— Mike (@Doranimated) August 4, 2020
In a letter to the Seattle City Council, Best praised her neighbors and urged council members to push back against actions by protesters who target public officials’ homes.
“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,” Best wrote in the Sunday letter.
She implored the city 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.”
Only one council member commented publicly on the letter. It’s probably not what you were hoping for.
“I take exception to the response by our police chief who celebrated that her neighbors met with these young people with guns,” Democratic Councilmember Tammy Morales told KING.
This is what the Seattle City Council took away from this. No wonder Carmen Best is one of the only voices of reason still in power in Seattle.
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