Twin Cities Pride — a Minneapolis LGBT group — earlier this week decided to ban the city's uniformed police officers from participating in its annual unity parade Sunday after a suburban cop was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black man, during a traffic stop last year.
"... 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," the group noted Tuesday on Facebook. "There will just be one lone unmarked police car starting off the parade and there will limited police participation in the parade itself."
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau (Image source: YouTube screenshot)
“I am beyond disappointed that you didn’t feel you could talk with me before making such a divisive decision that has really hurt so many in our community, including the LGBTQ members of this Department (and their family members) and those who serve and protect throughout the state," she wrote to Twin Cities Pride. "I really struggle to see how this decision helps our community heal, and the message of division and not inclusion is so hurtful to many of us."
Disappointment was widespread, including from other gay officers.
"As the only openly Out gay male officer with the Saint Paul Police department, this is a horrible decision," Darin McDonald wrote on Facebook. "Thought Pride message was about inclusion, and not exclusion."
Shan Diedrich agreed: "I could have never imagined something like this. Not only am I a gay woman that grew up with being the odd one out but now in my own community, I'm being once again put out for being a police officer. This is hateful and hurtful. This is not bringing the community together and building stronger relationships, this is dividing us. A huge step in the wrong direction. This is discriminatory and I'm hurt. Excluding a group of people is wrong."
And backlash has a way of changing things.
After meeting with Harteau and other officials, Twin Cities Pride on Friday reversed its ban and apologized to police, the Star Tribune reported.
The group's Executive Director Dot Belstler wrote "we recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission to foster inclusion. Our intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late, but our original approach fell short of our mission."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Officers are now invited to "hold the Unity flag or marching alongside the Rainbow, Bisexual, or Transgender flags," Belstler said.
“To our transgender and people of color communities," she added, "we will continue to respect your pain and angst by bridging the divide and continuing conversations on both sides of this issue to ensure we consider alternatives that make each group feel comfortable and safe."
But as you might guess, not everybody was pleased with the reversal.
"The police are a tool of systemic oppression against minority groups, so to say you wish to consider both sides is to effectively allow the continued pain of the mouse in favor of the feelings of the elephant," Dionne Sims wrote. "I'm disappointed but not at all surprised. It is not the job of the oppressed to bridge the divide created by the oppressors. If the cops want to be included in community events, they should start by treating members of that community with dignity and respect, not by strong-arming their way into things."
Bri Lopez Donovan was similarly put off: "So the hurt feelings of police officers being uninvited to a parade matter more than the grieving people of color who are killed by police on a now regular basis? Nice. This is pathetic and such a disgrace."
Here's a news report that ran just prior to the reversal:
(H/T: Heat Street)