Washington — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Sunday the groundswell of support for implementing police reforms that has erupted in the weeks following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis indicates that there will be long-lasting changes to policing.
"This is a pivotal moment in history," Best said on "Face the Nation." "We are going to move in a different direction, and policing will never be the same as it was before."
Protests that erupted immediately following Floyd's death in late May have continued now into a third week, and Seattle has become an epicenter of the demonstrations. In the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood, protesters set up an "autonomous zone" and police evacuated their precinct there.
President Trump has urged Seattle's mayor and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to "take back" the city and threatened to intervene if they did not take action.
Best said protests are peaceful, but said it's been a challenge for her and other Seattle leaders to determine "who is a leader or an influencer."
"I know that many of our city officials and others are trying to establish some sort of communication with someone who can give us some direction about what the intent is and how we might move forward," she said.
Best attended a Black Lives Matter march in the area and recalled witnessing many demonstrators who carried signs calling for an end to police brutality and changes to qualified immunity.
"I know standing there watching and listening that we're going to change in policing. We have to. It has to be a movement that involves everybody," she said. "And we need to reimagine and re-figure out, if you will, how we're going to move forward as a country and as an organization to make things better for everybody. It's incredibly difficult, but with every challenge, there's opportunity. There's opportunity to move forward and bring people together and get positive change. I absolutely believe that."
While local leaders across the country have implemented their own policy changes to policing, Congress is also working on proposals that aim to allow for more accountability for law enforcement. House Democrats last week rolled out their blueprint for a police reform package, and Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina is taking up the mantle for Senate Republicans.
During a trip to Dallas on Thursday, Mr. Trump said he is finalizing an executive order focusing on police reforms.