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Seattle's first black police chief resigns over vote to defund the police

The head of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has abruptly stepped down after the city council voted 7-1 to cut the police budget – by less than 1 per cent.

Carmen Best, the first black woman to head up the department, announced her decision in an email to staff, writing that “when it’s time, it’s time”.

“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times. 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.”

Ms Best had taken umbrage at proposals to defund the SPD, which were first raised after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and which have only gathered pace since.

At a press conference with mayor Jenny Durkan on Saturday, she acknowledged that “overall, there are some good approaches in the proposals”, pointing out that the department had had many of the same ideas already.

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