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Twin Cities Pride apologizes, invites police officers to march in parade

This year, organizers said, there will be only one unmarked police auto – mandated for safety reasons – at the front of the parade.Tom Hawley, who is a captain with a suburban police department, said he and his long time husband have attended the event the past few years.Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who broke barriers as the first lesbian to lead the department, called the decision “divisive” in a letter to parade organizers Thursday: “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 LGBT members of this Department (and their family members)”.”This does not at all reflect what they bring to the force and we appreciate them participating in Pride every year and being able to be out with their community as well”, she said. Organizers of Sunday, June 25, 2017 Twin Cities Pride Parade asked the police department to limit participation following the acquittal of police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the death of Castile.In this image made from July 6, 2016, video captured by a camera in the squad auto of St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer is shown after shooting into the vehicle at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., as the 4-year-old daughter of Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, starts to get out of the auto and is grabbed by an officer. Castile, a black motorist, was fatally shot by former Minnesota police officer Yanez, a Latino.The parade, which draws about 350,000 people, has started in previous years with several marked squad cars and police officers.She said: “Unfortunately, we have hurt and offended the LGBTQ police officers, and that was not at all our intent”.As a result, and after speaking with law enforcement leaders, the organization has said an unmarked police vehicle, as originally planned, will clear the way for the parade.Davis said he feels that Pride organizers reversing their decision “ignores the entire history of why Pride was started”.”I know historically, our minority communities have had struggles with police interactions; that is why we’ve worked so hard to build relationships that I still feel are both valued and respected”.Baumann said some people of color in the LGBTQ community have expressed discomfort with uniformed officers at the event.For similar reasons, other Pride events across the country are looking to take similar action.Friday’s statement from Pride organizers also included a message to transgender and people of color communities.Even before the Castile verdict was announced, Pride organizers had already discussed plans to scale-back the police presence this year compared to the year before.