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Former Washington Journalist
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The Black Lives Matter protests which have broken out nationwide, including Seattle, Wash., in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, will no doubt change the course of US policing, according to Carmen Best, chief of the Seattle police department since 2018.
Protesters have been filling the streets of American cities since Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police May 25.
The protests have been calling for an end to police violence and systemic racism in the United States.
“But what I believe, especially after I was at a march yesterday, or the day before yesterday with Black Lives Matter, and I was looking at the 60,000 people that were there, signs saying, you know, defund the police, stop police brutality, you know, no qualified immunity,” Best said. “And there were thousands of people carrying those particular signs. And I just realized it was a moment, an epiphany, that this is a pivotal moment in history. We are going to move in a different direction and policing will never be the same as it was before.”
Best also addressed the formation of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or CHAZ, in which residents of the Capitol Hill area of Seattle have taken over several city blocks as part of the protests.
“Well, there are people who have occupied the area. My understanding is they’ve actually changed the name to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest area. There are a lot of folks there, a lot of differing objectives and agendas and people who have congregated into the area,” she said. “One of our real challenges there is trying to determine who is a leader or an influencer. And that seems to change daily. 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.”
The site of CHAZ has been peaceful, Best added.
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