Minneapolis Police Department has confirmed its officers will not be wearing uniform if marching in this year’s Twin Cities Pride.
The event is due to take place on 24 June.
The fallout with police came after the acquittal in 2016 of a St Anthony, Minnesota, police officer who fatally shot a black motorist, Philando Castile.
Following the acquittal, organizers asked police not to participate in the 2017 Pride. However, they reversed their decison after the city’s first openly gay police chief, then-Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, raised objections.
Harteau is no longer Chief.
Yesterday, serving Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo posted a message to the force’s official Facebook page.
‘After thoughtful deliberation and intentional conversations with community members, elected officials and MPD officers, I have decided to not allow MPD officers to march in this year’s Minneapolis PRIDE parade in uniform,’ he says.
‘My decision is based in part on the adamant opposition of law enforcement’s participation by some representatives of our local LGBTIQ communities who have stated they feel strongly they do not want any law enforcement officers marching in uniform in the parade.
‘Representatives have conveyed to me that there is still a great deal of pain and harm that has occurred in their community, specifically our LGBTIQ communities of color, which has not been completely heard and addressed.’
He goes on to say that officers who wish to march: ‘Must be in civilian attire. During the parade, both sworn and civilian members are able to wear MPD rainbow t-shirts with a badge design on the front.’
The decision has been met with a very mixed response.
‘Thank you for listening to the voices of POC,’ commented Jeremy Brezovan. ‘It’s good to see leaders learning and doing better.’
However, another, Curt Anderson, comments: ‘How sad for LGBT officers. How sad for PRIDE. Celebrating inclusion while practicing exclusion.’
GSN has approached Twin Cities Pride for comment.
The Minnesota event is not the first Pride to have a difficult relationship with local law enforcement officials. Toronto Pride has been somewhat at loggerheads with Toronto Police over the last couple of years.
First, Black Lives Matter halted the Toronto Pride parade in 2016, partly in protest at police participation. This led to the police not having a marching presence on the parade in 2017.
They had hoped to resume participation for the 2018 event. However, following the arrest of alleged gay serial killer Bruce McArthur in January, the force faced renewed criticism from the LGBTI community. In April this year, the TPD announced it was withdrawing its application to take part in this year’s Toronto Pride parade on