Chief Best asked to cancel retirement by Black leaders of police reform group

SEATTLE — It's been a little more than a week since 28-year SPD veteran Carmen Best announced her retirement that's now fewer than two weeks away.

Today some Black advocates of police reform expressed their frustration.

“It’s like the complete erasure and silence of Black women in positions of power can just be pushed out because of some small group of agitators who feel that that’s what’s best,” said DeVitta Briscoe, Assistant Director of Not This Time.

Not This Time is the organization that succeeded in passing I-940, which requires officers to try to de-escalate situations instead of using force.

“I’m asking Chief Best to come back and complete the work here in Seattle,” said director Andre Taylor.

Rev. Leslie Braxton is a high school classmate and friend of Best. Braxton said, “I believe her return would be a moment of redemption for our city. If it remains as it is I think we’ll have a difficult path moving forward.”

The Black leaders also denounced the violence at protests, which they say is led by largely white protest groups.

“We’ve always have the problem of extremist groups who come in and want to bring violence into a nonviolent protest,” said Braxton.

Taylor added, “There’s a lot of things going on that white folks are doing right now particularly in Seattle. That they think the Black community has sanctioned and maybe small parts of the Black community but not the majority of the Black community. We don’t sanction violence.”

Chief Best responded to the request for her to stay in a statement to KIRO-7:

“The request today that I rescind my retirement was unexpected, but appreciated. However, I am confident my decision to retire is the right one.”