SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. - A group of about 200 protesters went to a quiet neighborhood that belonged to Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best this weekend, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident occurred on Saturday night. The Sheriff Adam Fortney was notified around 8:30 p.m. and by the time deputies arrived, most of the protesters were already dispersing or already gone.
“When the people showed up to my house, it certainly felt very personal about me,” said Chief Best who was not home at the time. “It really does seem like a mob mentality, and bullying, to intimidate a public official.”
Jamie and Whitney Roulstone live on the quiet street and said 30 to 40 vehicles were wrapped around the corner.
Neighbors buckled down and used their own vehicles to block the protesters from moving further down the street where Chief Best’s home is located.
“It was not peaceful. They were here to intimidate. Scare people. Scare children. There were children out there and they were asking them what schools they went to. They were yelling the most horrible things you’ve ever heard in your entire life,” said wife Jamie.
“You’re coming to a small community. We see all these peaceful protests getting hijacked in Seattle and Portland and other areas,” said husband Whitney. “It just takes one Molotov cocktail, takes one person trying to light something on fire, one firework going off. Then we now have a neighborhood in crisis. We feared that more than anything, was having a crisis here in our neighborhood that we ultimately didn’t deserve.”
In a statement, Sheriff Adam Fortney said in part:
I spoke with Chief Best on the phone who was not at the residence at the time. I assured her that the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office would deploy whatever resources were necessary to protect her, her family, and her property. I am pleased to report this group decided to disperse and there were no other incidents last night.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office has been supportive and accommodating to all peaceful protests that have occurred in our jurisdiction. With that said, protestors targeting one individual’s house is a bullying tactic that will certainly require an extra patrol response to ensure every resident in Snohomish County can feel safe in their own home, with their loved ones, no matter what they choose to do to make a living. If this group or any other group wants to protest the government, we would ask they do so at a government building and not at any individual’s private residence.
Chief Best had a message for both elected leaders in Seattle as well as the group that showed up to her neighborhood.
“I would hope elected officials, and specifically, our City Council would loudly, boldly and assertively denounce this kind of behavior,” said Chief Best. “I’m not a person who can vote or has a specific say in the outcome of the public budget issue. So being there really is not going to make a difference in the outcome.”
The Roulstone’s said Chief Best attended a neighborhood meeting on Sunday to apologize and thank her neighbors.
“She couldn’t believe what the neighborhood did for her. She apologized that this even came here. I told her don’t apologize. We need to apologize to you that this is even happening. it’s unacceptable,” said Jamie.
“We admire her. We see what she’s doing. She’s doing a great job. That this has happened, on her behalf here, we as a neighborhood are rallying behind her,” said Whitney.
On Sunday night, Chief Best made public a letter addressed to the Seattle City Council. In part she wrote:
These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation. Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics.
The events of this summer were initiated in a moment of grief and outrage over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and so many other Black and Brown people suffering at the hands of injustice. All of us must ensure that this righteous cause is not lost in the confusion of so many protestors now engaging in violence and intimidation, which many are not speaking against.
Q13 News will continue following this story. Check back for updates.