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Seattle city leaders call for unity following Dallas shootings

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SEATTLE -- All day people in the community have been sending flowers to police headquarters in downtown Seattle to show support for the officers hurting over the Dallas shooting.

During a press conference Friday, Seattle city leaders called for unity.

“Our challenge in this tragic moment as individuals, collectively as a city, is to step back from the politics of division and find a way, despite our disagreements with each other, to recognize some good in the other,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said.

Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole says since the 2012 consent decree with the DOJ, Seattle police has been leading the nation in police reform. The improvements the department has made have been recognized by the federal government including President Obama. O’Toole says the reforms are vital to bridge the gap in our community.

“We have policies and procedures, training and de-escalation and crisis intervention, implicit bias. Do we have room for improvement? Of course we do.  We still have a ways to go, but thankfully we are down that road a bit when others are just contemplating where to start,” O’Toole said.

Several African American leaders stood in solidarity with O’Toole and Murray devastated over the ambush killings of the Dallas police officers.

“Just look at my face. I don’t know what else to say but we are hurting we are in pain and we have to come together for a solution,” United Black Christian Clergy President Pastor Lawrence Willis said.

“We have to continue to support one another and I believe we have to talk about love -- it’s about loving each other,” Pamela Banks of the Urban League said.

Both Banks and Willis say the nation has a long way to go when it comes to race relations and bias policing.