Seattle police chief resigning after council approves cuts to department

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said she will be resigning after the city council approved cuts to her department's budget on Monday. 

Best said in a letter to the department that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2, The Associated Press reported

“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times,” Best said in the letter, according to the AP. “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. ... I look forward to seeing how this department moves forward through the process of re-envisioning public safety. I relish the work that will be done by all of you.”

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Best’s announcement comes after the city council approved cuts that would reportedly take less than $4 million from the department's $400 million annual budget. The council also approved a cut in Best’s roughly $285,000 annual salary as well as reductions in other department official’s salaries, according to the news service. 

Mayor Jenny DurkanJenny DurkanWashington governor orders vaccines for state employees, health care workers Angst grips America's most liberal city An exhausting year takes toll on nation's mayors MORE (D) has appointed Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz as the interim chief of police, Best wrote in the letter, KING-TV reported

Durkan said in an email to police that she accepts Best’s decision “with a very heavy heart,” the AP reports. 

The mayor picked Best, the city's first Black police chief, to lead the department in July of 2018. Best had been serving as interim chief, the AP notes. 

The proposal to cut the police department’s budget, backed by Black Lives Matter protesters and opposed by Durkan and Best, was approved by seven of eight council members. One council member, Kshama Sawant, voted against it, saying it did not do enough to defund Seattle police. 

Best earlier this month asked the city council to intervene after a large protest outside her residence.

In June, she voiced her displeasure with the city's decision to have police leave a precinct when demonstrators set up what they called an autonomous protest zone.

Seattle, like many cities, had seen large protests against racial injustice and police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.