SEATTLE, Wash. — Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best recently acknowledged that the media manipulated news coverage inside Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) to make it look less dangerous. The Daily Wire reported on her comments that were made on Jerry Ratcliffe’s “Reducing Crime” podcast.
Best said that the “destructive behavior” of the protesters “did not get the level of publicity or media attention” as the officer-involved deaths of George Floyd and others received. “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,” Best said.
Ratcliffe responded by saying: “And then you read the media and find that they’re pretty much gaslighting you. It never happened.”
Best said she was confused when reading about the interactions with rioters in the media, who claimed it was a “peaceful protest” and that protesters were unfairly and harshly targeted by police who threw tear gas and used pepper spray on them. Best said that they did use those tactics, but that their use “wasn’t arbitrary.”
“But certainly, 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,” she said.
Best resigned last September after the Seattle City Council voted to cut about $3 million from the police budget.