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Chief Best’s Statement to Officers Regarding George Floyd

To the Men and Women of the Seattle Police Department: 

I wanted to take a moment to address the tragic murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department officer.

In the video, we hear Mr. Floyd’s repeated calls for help.  We hear him say over and over again that he cannot  breathe. 

The video is upsetting, disappointing, and infuriating. It does not show the policing we know. Policing is an honorable profession filled with honorable public servants. We are committed to protecting life and serving the community.  

Because of the Seattle Police Department’s high level of training, our commitment to de-escalation, and our track record of limiting the use of force, I have confidence that something like this would not occur in our city.

Especially troubling about the video, was the officers who stood by while Mr. Floyd called for help. 

As a police officer, you have a sworn duty to uphold the law and do what is right. We prioritize the sanctity of life in every situation.  

If you see a co-worker doing something that is unsafe, out of policy,  unacceptable, or illegal, you need to act. This goes beyond reporting. If someone’s life is unnecessarily in danger, it is your responsibility to intervene. 

We each have a right to go home at the end of the day, but we also have a responsibility to ensure that others enjoy that same right. We must hold ourselves accountable if we are to maintain the trust of the community who grants us the privilege to serve them.  

I know it can be challenging to see these incidents, even when they do not happen here. You all should be proud of how we provide police services here in Seattle.  

Thank you for all that you do, every day. Stay safe.  

Carmen Best