Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, who resigned last year after she refused to fire police officers as part of the city’s efforts to gut the police department, says that the media downplayed the violence at the so-called CHOP/CHAZ to make it appear peaceful. For months, the city refused to clamp down on the Antifa-controlled “autonomous zone” in the city's Capitol Hill district.
The narrative pushed by the media largely echoed Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s original claim that the hostile takeover of the city’s neighborhoods by militant leftists represented a “summer of love” — a claim debunked by the nightly riots and unpoliced violence in the area. Three black teenagers were also slain in the area during the “summer of love.”
Speaking on Jerry Ratcliffe’s Reducing Crime podcast, Best said that the level of destruction caused by the militants “did not get the level of publicity or media attention” as the deaths of George Floyd and other cases of officer-involved killings.
“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.
“And then you read the media and find that they’re pretty much gaslighting you. It never happened,” Ratcliffe responded.
Best said she was perplexed by the way the media covered the riots in Seattle, which often described them as “peaceful protests.” Reports claimed that protesters were unfairly and harshly targeted by police indiscriminately with dispersal tactics. Best said that while police did use pepper spray and tear gas, 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.