Seattle’s police chief has said she is stepping down after its city council approved reducing the department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition in line with the “defund the police” movement, which calls for police funding to be cut and reallocated to endeavors perceived to be of greater social benefit. Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the department that her retirement will be effective Sept. 2 after council members approved the cuts Monday. Cuts to the department have been supported by demonstrators who have marched in the city following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but strongly opposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan. The measures will cut around $4 million of the department’s $400 million annual budget this year. Only one council member voted against the budget package, saying it does not do enough to defund the police. Seattle has about 1,400 police officers and the reductions fell far short of the 50 percent cut to the department that many Black Lives Matter protesters are seeking.
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