Police are not happy with being asked not to walk in the Twin Cities Pride parade, Minnesota, US.
Continuing tensions between the officers and minority communities resulted in pride organizers asking officers not to walk, despite having always joined previously.
In previous years, the parade has started with several police vehicles and uniformed officers. This year, there will only be one unmarked police car at the front of the parade.
People who had planned to attended had voiced concerns about the police presence after a local police officer was acquitted after the shooting of an African American. This lead to the pride organizors decision.
St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Mary Nash, who is also the department’s LGBTQ liaison, said she understands ‘people are angry and we can respect their feelings, but the reality is at the end of the day if we can’t work together it becomes more challenging to become better as a community and to become better as a police department.’
Darcie Baumann, Chairwoman of the Twin Cities Pride Board, explained the organization did not intend to ‘hurt or harm or make anyone feel excluded’.
‘Unfortunately, we have hurt and offended the LGBTQ police officers, and that was not at all our intent,’ Baumann told the Star Tribune. ‘But in the wake of the verdict, we want to be sensitive to the population that is grieving … and seeing those uniforms brings angst and tension and the feeling of unrest.’
For similar reasons, other Pride events across the country are looking to take similar action.
Organizers in Portland, Oregon, are asking officers to consider not wearing their uniforms because some people ‘don’t feel comfortable attending alongside police in uniform’. Multiple law enforcement officials were upset and at least one county sheriff’s department decided to not march at all.