No Pride for area police

Updated 12:05 p.m. | Posted 7:14 a.m.

In normal times, members of the Minneapolis Police Department and some other departments would march in the Twin Cities Pride parade. But these are not normal times and organizers have said the police should stay away from Sunday’s parade, at least as much as police can stay away from public gatherings.

Organizers posted this message on Facebook

We appreciate all the calls and emails from community members voicing their concerns with us and we are always open to feedback. With the Twin Cities Pride Parade and Festival drawing about 350,000 people each year, we are doing our best to balance the concerns of the community and our concerns for making this family-friendly event a safe and welcoming place for everyone to attend.

There has been some misinformation circulating and we’d like to make sure accurate information is shared with the all of you.

Twin Cities Pride is required by law to have a police car lead the parade to make sure the route is clear of 5K runners and other people before the parade officially starts. We always have several police departments wanting to roll down Hennepin with lights and sirens to participate in this announcement that the parade is about to begin.

With the recent verdict in the Philando Castile case Twin Cities Pride has decided to forgo this part of the police participation in the parade for this year and respect the pain the community is feeling right now. There will just be one lone unmarked police car starting off the parade and there will limited police participation in the parade itself.

The police have been listed in the parade line up as the first contingent in the parade, but there is no contingent of police marchers as rumored. The police have been the first contingent in the lineup as long as this City ordinance has been in place and this is nothing new. Following the police is the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Banner and the Dykes on Bikes and Twin Cities Riders, so we want to make absolutely sure the street is clear of people and pets before these units roar down the street on their Harleys.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns. We hope this helps ease people’s fears about police participation in the parade. We will be scheduling a Listening Session for later this summer to give the community a place for making their voices heard and to suggest changes for future Pride Festival and Parade planning.

Dot Belstler, Executive Director
Amy Brockman, External Relations Manager

“I understand 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,” St. Paul Deputy Police Chief Mary Nash, the department’s LGBTQ liason, tells the Star Tribune.

On Thursday morning, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, the city’s first openly gay chief, expressed her unhappiness and disappointment and said the decision was hurtful to many officers. “It’s time to be lifting each other up, not excluding one another. Saddened to be shut out from Pride. Will I be welcomed next year?” she said on Twitter.

Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll was less diplomatic.

“With the uptick in terrorist attacks worldwide, this outward anti-police sentiment is alarming. For an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive, the hypocrisy amazes me,” he said in a statement.

Darin McDonald, who says he’s the only openly gay man on the St. Paul Police Department, called the decision, “horrible.”

“Thought Pride message was about inclusion, and not exclusion,” he wrote on Facebook, saying Pride is the perfect place for members of the community to meet the police.

Other Pride organizers around the country are taking similar action.

Pride Northwest asked police not to wear uniforms at the parade in Portland, Oregon Live reports.

But organizers stopped short of asking cops not to march.

Police Lt. Tashia Hager wrote on Facebook that the request suggests police should hide who they are.

“Today I learned I was asked to step back into a closet by a group of people who should know better,” she wrote on the social media site. “I have been a part of the gay community in Portland for 25 years. I would like to think that the ideals of inclusion and acceptance are not only what the gay community preaches but it is also what it practices. To fail at this endeavor is a hypocrisy that I cannot ignore. I am proud to be a Portland Police Office where my sexual orientation has been more widely accepted than it has in our community at large.”

The low visibility of police at this year’s Twin Cities Pride stands in contrast to last year, when police provided extra security just days after dozens of people were massacred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Organizers say police will still provide security, but will not be in the parade.

  • Barton

    Is there more of a divisive person in the Twin Cities than Bob Kroll? Everytime he opens his mouth it just makes me want to scream at him.

    Maybe that is just me.

    In regards to the point of the article, I never really understood why police departments marched in the parade. It always seemed….I don’t know…. strangely threatening to me. I guess with the history re: Stonewall and other police raids into LGTB communities in the past, it is good to show that that kind of hate/violence is in the past. But it always just seemed strange to me.

    • I would think being an openly gay police officer might be a bit of a career risk, at least historically, so the inclusion of uniformed officers and departments in the parade always seemed inspiring to me. They are proud to be who they are, they want to inspire others to know they could be an officer too. Glad to hear the departments will still have a booth and will be reaching out and recruiting inside Loring Park.

  • Gary F

    I would think that inviting the cops as part of your parade is the first step in healing.

    • Chris

      The first step in healing would be for the police to stop killing people unnecessarily.

    • Angry Jonny

      Maybe they’re not ready for that yet.

    • BReynolds33

      The first step is admitting there is a problem. The police, and the government overlords that fund and protect them, have yet to admit that. Until they do, I’m not ready to heal, so I can’t blame anyone else for not being ready, either.

    • Barton

      the cops are there: as cops, doing their job as required by law as cops.

      why else would they really need to be there as cops? they are more than welcome as citizens to come after all, so let them come as just citizens.

  • I hope those police officers who are criticizing this decision will take a step back to consider why it was made. Based on their reactions, I think there is a lot of history that they are either unaware of or is being ignored, particularly between police and members of the LGBTQIA communities who are also persons of color.

  • Mike

    It would have been far more gutsy of the organizers to allow the police to march, and put them right in front of or behind Black Lives Matter. The St. Paul deputy chief has it right. Nothing good comes from creating little bubbles, “safe zones,” or whatever euphemism is fashionable these days, where people are “protected” from those who may disagree with them. The price of freedom is that no one has any such protection.

    • BReynolds33

      The police have not been silenced by being excluded from a parade. They simply have been told they aren’t welcome. It’s not about safe zones or protecting people from those they disagree with.

      It is about not celebrating a group of people that murder our fellow citizens, and do so on our dime, and in our name.

      • Mike

        You’re painting with an awfully broad brush there. If you really believe that all cops are murderers, you have a right to your opinion, but it’s a pretty extreme one.

        Moreover, the real problem lies with the laws as they are written, which allow the police too much discretion to use deadly force. Your discontent would be better directed at the politicians who write those laws.

        • DavidG

          Nothing wrong with directing discontent at the group that abuses that discretion.

        • BReynolds33

          If you would, please point out where I wrote all cops are murderers. All cops belong to the group known as “cops.” Cops continue to murder people. Thus, cops belong to a group of people that are murdering people.

          A group they can either choose not to belong to, or a group they can choose to fix. They have done neither, instead doubling down repeatedly on how much I should respect them simply because they say so.

          While I appreciate you telling me where my discontent should be aimed, you are creating a false dichotomy. I have plenty of anger to go around. I can be upset with both my elected officials for not changing laws built to protect murderers on the government dole, and I can be doubly angry with the person who actually pulled the trigger.

          When it comes down to it, while the laws suck, the cops make the choice to kill or not to kill.

    • RBHolb

      The distinction between “gutsy” and “provocative” is a thin one.

      Pride is supposed to be a celebration.

      • Mike

        My point is that if the event were really as inclusive as the organizers always claim, then they wouldn’t discriminate against gay and lesbian cops. It solves nothing to send an obnoxious message to all police, many of whom probably share the public’s disgust with the behavior of certain members in their ranks. Engagement is generally much better than estrangement.

        • RBHolb

          “It would have been far more gutsy of the organizers to allow the police to march, and put them right in front of or behind Black Lives Matter.” That’s not inclusion. That’s getting in people’s faces.

          • Mike

            That’s me exaggerating a bit to make a point, but that scenario would still be preferable to exclusion.

        • DavidG

          Engagement requires two parties. So far, the LEO side prefers to merely lecturing how to make their job easier by being more compliment and obsequious to their abuses.

          If “many of them” share the public’s disgust with the bad apples in their ranks, they sure don’t show it by remaining silent, or by overwhelmingly re-electing Kroll as their representative.

        • BReynolds33

          I see nothing that says the gay and lesbian cops are not welcome to march as gay or lesbian human beings. Only not in uniform, representing the government.

          “many of whom probably share the public’s disgust with the behavior of certain members in their ranks.”

          If this is the case, they alone can fix it. They have chosen not to.

          “Engagement is generally much better than estrangement.”

          When there is rational conversation to be had, absolutely. When one group continues to kill on their whim? There is not much common ground. Stop killing people. Then we’ll talk.

        • Barton

          They aren’t discriminating against LGBT police officers: they are just saying they cannot march in their uniforms as part of a police “group.” They can still march. They can still attend.

  • BReynolds33

    I have grown weary of of the idea that excluding a group, based on choices they make, is hypocrisy. The pride parade is about celebrating characteristics of the humans that are not something they can choose to be or not. Bigots, the ignorant, the hateful… there is no requirement to be tolerant of these things. Want to participate? Stop being a bigot, choose not to be ignorant, and stop being hateful. Seems fairly simple.

    If the police would like to be part of the parade, they can make a choice to stop training officers to kill when no lethal threat is present. They can stop choosing to embrace murderers in their ranks. They can choose to follow the most basic rules of use of lethal force: those used in active war zones.

    The police being excluded from a parade is not hypocrisy. It being held to account by the free people of the community, since our government seems unwilling to do so.

    As for Police Lt. Tashia Hager: Being a cop is a job. If your job is so important that being told you can’t march in a parade because of your job means you are being asked to hide who you are… stop and take a look in the mirror. Your job is not who you are. It’s your job.

    Gay people can’t just quit their job and stop being gay. You, Lt. Hager, can quit your job and no longer be a cop. Completely false equivalency.

    • Misha Jameson

      “The police being excluded from a parade is not hypocrisy. It being held to account by the free people of the community, since our government seems unwilling to do so.” Perfectly well said, BReynolds33. Thanknyou.

  • Rob

    Huh. I get that a large percentage of the LGBTQ community is upset by the Castile verdict, and I share those sentiments. But this decision, which amounts to telling police to eff off, ain’t the way to express it.

    • BReynolds33

      Instead they should, what? Invite the executioner to the party and hug it out?

      • Rob

        All cops are executioners. Love the logic.

        • theoacme

          How many police officers condemned the actions of Officer Yanez? I saw exactly zero…and I do know that Officer Yanez was guilty of endangering the lives of two innocent people while murdering a third innocent person…

          …so, maybe when these murders stop, and when police officers that commit homicide in this manner get consistently convicted of some felony offense (I believe Yanez should have been convicted of both weapons charges, I will accept reasonable doubt on the manslaughter charge, but I would have held out til death on the weapons charges had I been on that jury), and when police officers get rid of fellow officers that have such racist tendencies to commit homicide on innocent people, then, maybe, people won’t say “all cops are murderers”…

          …and if Diamond Reynolds and her daughter had been killed by Yanez, would he have been acquitted of that, too? Given the juror’s statement, I believe that even if God had told the jury to convict Yanez in that instance, they would have not convicted Yanez.

          • Rob

            Is the burden of proof regarding cops who kill civilians stacked insurmountably in favour of the cops? Mos’ def. Is that the way things should be? No.

            And it’s my conclusion, based on all the video and audio evidence that I have heard and seen, that Geronimo Janez was not a good cop when it mattered most. Further, it is indeed profoundly disheartening that more police officers did not weigh in about Janez’s actions.

            But the notion that all cops are like Janez, or that they’re just one step away from being wanton executioners, is a mindset that, IMHO, is more than a bridge too far.

  • Jerry

    I couldn’t care less what Bob Kroll thinks about anything.

    • Rob

      Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that his name rhymes with troll.

      • X.A. Smith

        You beat me to it.

    • Barton

      It is so nice to know I am not alone in this sentiment.

  • TM

    There is a lot of pain mentioned in this article, but what about the pain of losing a member of the community to violence? Have the police apologized for Philando’s death? Have they even really recognized that it was a tragedy? Are they meeting the community’s demands for training reform head-on and pledging that they will only use deadly force as the very last resort? No, they are talking about the community coming together, and what we can “all” do to make it better. Philando’s death is provoking so much outrage because it highlights exactly why people are afraid of the police, as well as the cynicism in knowing (so far) that a police officer can kill someone and face no real legal repercussions. I haven’t seen the police address that fear or that cynicism, they’ve only suggested that “we all need to work together to reduce tension”. If the police force wants the affection of its communities, it needs to step up and start showing us that it understands the implications of its power and responsibility in our society. The trial and legal accountability aside, there is so much more that could have been done on the human side of things, by the police, in the handling of this case and community relationships. I didn’t see any of that. I just saw, “Oh, someone died. Please don’t be mad”. That’s not going to cut it, and I think that’s how sentiments like this get expressed at something like Pride.

  • Jeff C.

    If I was the organizer of the parade, I wouldn’t have the police march, either. Not to punish them, but for their safety and to not have them become a distraction. The anonymity that comes with being part of a crowd sometimes bring out the bad side of people. I can easily see the police being booed by someone in the crowd. That could lead to yells and taunts, maybe something gets thrown, then the police batons come out, more things are thrown, the police break formation and go into the crowd to find the thrower and….

    Having the police lead the parade in uniform feels like a show of force, not a display of unity. They can do the job of clearing the route just fine in an unmarked car.

    Letting the police march this weekend feels as wrong as letting the class bully and troublemaker participate in the end-of-the-year celebration at an elementary school. (“Sorry, Billy, but you didn’t play nicely with the kids all year, you’re going to have to sit this one out. I know you are sad about it, but you should have thought about this before you hit the other kids and called them names. We’ll talk about it more later, but this is not the time or the place to do that. We’ll do that after we celebrate the achievements of the other kids that you always put down.”)

    Let the Pride participants have their day in the sun. Next week the Police can work on improving relationships. This weekend is not the time or the place for that work to be forced upon unwilling participants.

    • Rachel

      What if it were the entire class being held from the celebration on Billy’s account? (and perhaps influenced by the historical bullies that had come before Billy) “Sorry, Class, but Billy didn’t play nicely with the kids all year, you’re going to have to sit this one out. I know you are sad about it, but you should have thought about this before Billy hit the other kids and called them names. We’ll talk about it more later, but this is not the time or the place to do that. We’ll do that after we celebrate the achievements of the other kids that Billy always puts down.”

      • Jeff C.

        That would make as little sense as it would to cancel the Pride parade this weekend because a police officer shot someone a year ago unnecessarily.

        • Rachel

          agreed.

  • kennedy

    If we are going to profile an entire profession based on the actions of a few individuals, why not choose this….

    Rock Star Cop

    … or this…

    Cops attend victims high school graduation

    … or this …

    If I was your chief

    • Kat S.

      We do. That’s how large portions of society think of police. That’s how we’d like people of color to think of police. But they can’t, because other members of the police kill them and when that’s happening it’s not safe for you to assume any given cop is a Rock Star Cop, because you are dead if you are wrong. If you assume any given cop is out to kill you, at least you’re pleasantly surprised if they don’t. What Pride is doing is acknowledging how many members of its community can’t afford to assume police are on their side.
      The first step towards having a society where it’s safe for everyone to assume all cops are Rock Stars is to start changing the standards we hold the police to and the standards they hold each other to. Pride is doing that.

  • Can we get a show of hands on how many people telling LGBTQ people how they should feel are LGBTQ? Go.

    • Barton

      yeah. guilty. I admit it. Even if I am supporting/defending their actions, still guilty.

      • JamieHX

        Whose actions are you supporting/defending? It’s important to note that plenty of so-called “LGBT” or “LGBTQ” or “LGBTQILMNOP” ( aauurgghh! ) people do not support what the Pride organizers are doing. So you’re not supporting or defending THEM.
        I’m “bi” and I think it’s wrong to exclude the police as though they’re all the same. I also think it’s ironic for a prominent gay organization to be so demonstrably supportive of the black community when black people have often not been very supportive of gay people historically.

    • Kat S.

      Bi here, and white, which given the discussion also seems important to note.

  • KTN

    I think asking the police to avoid the parade is wrong, for a few reasons, but maybe if they did show up, they could dress like the cop in the Village People – that might break the ice.

  • Samuel

    “As a police officer, I don’t feel included in this event that started as a riot against the police.”

  • Misha Jameson

    As I just posted on the ACLU video of police brutality from Worthington MN, the maniacal attacks on citizens by the “bad apples” in police forces are destroying all officers’ professional reputations. If good cops want to be trusted by the public, they’re going to have to start exerting some internal peer pressure. As of right now, most of us are simply afraid of them, which is clearly demonstrated by the Pride organization’s decision. It’s on you, officers.

  • AmiSchwab

    me thinks the cops need a new union leader.

  • Rachel

    Any ideas about how we respond to the concerns being raised AND include the people that make up police departments in the parade?

    • Kassie

      How about allowing them to march with any of the other groups in the parade as long as they aren’t wearing their uniforms? Because that’s what they are doing. No one is being excluded, they are only not allowed to be included under the banner of “police.”

  • MBP

    I’ve seen Mormons marching in the Pride parade. The Mormon Church has an official policy that discriminates against the LGBT community (unlike our police departments), yet members of that group are allowed to participate. Their participation is meant to convey “Hey, not every Mormon is intolerant. There are some of us who love you
    and support you and think the official policies of our church are wrong.” It’s a sign of solidarity and respect.
    Everyone who participates in the parade should be respectful. That is a reasonable requirement for participation. What we should not do is pre-judge participants based on their affiliation with a particular group (be it religious, corporate, or employment-based) and label their mere presence disrespectful. That is a slippery slope. Where do we draw the line? When do the actions of individuals rise to the point where the whole group is unwelcome?
    I hope the organizers will change their mind and allow police participation in the parade this Sunday.

  • lindblomeagles

    Here we go again. The police are hurt by Pride’s decision to minimize police participation in Pride’s parade. Supporters of police aren’t much better. They derisively add Pride’s mission is “inclusivity,” that police may have to hide who they are; that it’s a great honor to serve and protect the community during heightened awareness of terrorist activity worldwide. Funny, but isn’t police safety supposed to be inclusive of African American males? Aren’t African Americans males increasingly made to feel they have to hide from police? Isn’t the justice system with its “Not Guilty” verdict given willingly and unanimously to cops who shoot innocent Black males like Philando Castile a form of terrorism? The Police experience all this hurt, anger, confusion, and sadness when organization’s like Pride, Black Lives Matter, and the Minnesota Lynx demand better service from them, but these same police officers feel NOTHING for Black males walking in their communities (see Trayvon Martin), riding in their cars (see Philando Castile), or requesting emergency services (see Freddie Gray). For all this talk of reaching out to one another and working together to better the community, the only police department that said, “This is not the way we do business,” was Officer Yanez’s Police Department, Saint Anthony P.D. The City of Minneapolis stood firm behind their shooting of an innocent Black man just 2 years ago despite protestors camping out in the front of the 5th District for days. Not one officer said, “Well, we could have handled this one better.” “Not one Police Department has said they disagree with the Yanez verdict.” So what you have friends is the same empty talk the Police Department and their supporters have given the Black community for decades, which is, “We want to be there, but, we’re still not sure Black men can be trusted.”