New York, NY – Organizers of New York City’s gay pride parade announced on Saturday that they have banned gay police officers and correctional officers from participating for at least the next five years.
“This announcement follows many months of conversation and discussion with key stakeholders in the community,” NYC Pride Co-Chair André Thomas said, according to WABC.
“The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” NYC Pride organizers said, according to the Associated Press.
NYC Pride also announced that they would hire a private security firm to work the event and said they wanted all New York Police Department (NYPD) officers to be kept at least a block away from the parade route, WABC reported.
“NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events,” NYC Pride said in a statement. “All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers will be reviewed. An increased budget for security and first response will allow NYC Pride to independently build a first response emergency plan using private security and provide safety volunteers with de-escalation training for first response when necessary.”
The group said on May 15 that law enforcement and corrections exhibitors had been banned from the event until at least 2025 in order to “create safer spaces” for “marginalized groups,” the New York Post reported.
But the organization doesn’t have the power to ban NYPD from policing their event.
So NYC Pride said NYPD would only work the events where mandated by city officials, WABC reported.
“In these instances, NYC Pride will review foreseeable NYPD involvement and, in partnership with surrounding venue precincts, take steps to keep police officers at least one city block away from event perimeter areas where possible,” the statement read.
'NYC Pride will ban corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025.'
'NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events. All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security.' pic.twitter.com/C66iYxX4hS
— NYC EMS Watch (@NYCEMSwatch) May 15, 2021
The massive event, which is usually held in March, was pushed back to June to accommodate pandemic restrictions, the Associated Press reported.
Last year’s NYC Pride events, which marked the 50th Anniversary of the first gay marches in many major U.S. cities, were conducted virtually.
In 2019, there were two separate marches in Manhattan after organizers split over the commercialization of the event, the Associated Press reported.
The Queer Liberation March was more of a protest than a parade.
Its organizers said the NYC Pride parade was too heavily policed given that it was the same department that raided Stonewall Inn in 1969, the Associated Press reported.
NYPD released a statement that pointed to the group’s exclusive behavior at something that was supposed be an inclusive event, and said officers would still be working it regardless, WABC reported.
“Our annual work to ensure a safe, enjoyable Pride season has been increasingly embraced by its participants,” the statement read. “The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and runs counter to our shared values of inclusion and tolerance. That said, we’ll still be there to ensure traffic safety and good order during this huge, complex event.”
The NYPD Gay Officers Action League said on Friday that they were “disheartened” by the group’s decision and said banning their presence “in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful,” WABC reported.
.@NYCPride’s decision to exclude members of the NYPD from Pride events is hurtful and disappointing. As this scene reminds us, inclusion and dialogue are the oxygen of reform — everything @GOALny stands for as they relentlessly challenge and make us a better department. pic.twitter.com/odLP9FO4U0
— Deputy Commissioner John Miller (@NYPDDCPI) May 16, 2021
The league’s president, NYPD Detective Brian Downey, said NYPD officers have been marching in the parade for almost 40 years, the New York Post reported.
“I don’t know what the end game is here,” Det. Downey said. “When you create an echo chamber and you take a dissenting voice other than the voice of these activists, who don’t want reform they just want abolition.”