“This message may be leaked to the public, but I am not concerned about that,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best tells her officers in a video message voicing her objection to being ordered to surrender a precinct to dangerous, armed “anti-government groups.”
While she wanted to continue to defend the precinct, “The city had other plans for the building,” Chief Best tells her officers in the now-public video:
“You should know: leaving the precinct was not my decision. We fought for days to protect it. I asked you to stay on that line, day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened, and in some cases, hurt.
“Then, to have a change of course, nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community.
“Ultimately, the city had other plans for the building and relented to severe public pressure.
“I am angry about how this all came about. I understand that my comments and this message may be leaked to the public, but I’m not concerned about that. I stand by what I’m saying.”
“We have solid information to believe that anti-government groups will destroy the precinct once we left, whether through vandalism or arson,” Chief Best says.
Carmen calls it “very concerning” that armed people are roaming the streets, demanding “protection” money from business owners:
“We have heard that there are armed people ‘patrolling’ the streets near 12th and Pine. Of course, this is very concerning – especially, because we don’t know who these people are.
“We’ve also received report that these armed people may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for some that protection.
“We have also heard that they may be demanding to see identification from people who live in the area. This is not legal, and we’ve asked anyone who may be experiencing this to come forward and file a police report so that we can investigate these crimes.”