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'I felt encouraged': Seattle police chief meets with black clergy for series of conversations

Seattle police chief Carmen Best and members of the Goodwill Baptist Church met to discuss policing and community relations.

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best sat center stage Sunday evening as Goodwill Baptist Church hosted what it calls a series of conversations with black clergy and the police chief.

“I just showed up to listen and the words were beautiful, and the support was very meaningful to me. I felt encouraged. I really mean that: we’re in very strange and unique times,” Best said.

The meeting was a direct response to calls for the chief’s resignation from some members of the public.

Best has been criticized for her authorization of tear gas towards protesters after the Mayor called for a 30-day ban of the substance.

RELATED: SPD chief says ‘policing will never be the same’ after national responses to George Floyd’s death

“I can tell you, no one dislikes a bad officer more than a good officer who is out there every single day and working hard. We are going to make sure that we hold people accountable,” Best said.

Best didn’t reveal specifics on the future of the so-called CHOP on Capitol Hill, but does say the city and her staff remains in negotiation with organizers.

The Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) is a six-block area of Capitol Hill where protesters are camping out, creating their own community. It used to be called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. 

“We have a lot of really good wonderful officers who are working hard to make a difference and those who aren’t let’s figure out a way that we can weave those out of the system and make the system right,” Best said.

RELATED: Seattle's 'Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone' makes national headlines amid differing views and names