Officers won’t march in uniform in Pride

Marchers in the 2013 Twin Cities Pride parade carry rainbow flags as spectators watch along Hennepin Avenue. File photo

Minneapolis Police Officers won’t be allowed to march in the annual Pride parade while wearing their uniforms, Chief Medaria Arradondo announced May 22 in a letter posted to the department’s Facebook page.

The department is providing rainbow T-shirts with a badge design to those officers who wish to march in the June 24 parade in plain clothes. Arradondo said his decision was made in response to the “adamant opposition of law enforcement’s participation by some representatives of our local LGBTIQ communities.”

“Representatives have conveyed to me that there is still a great deal of pain and harm that has occurred in their community, specifically our LGBTIQ communities of color, which has not been completely heard and addressed,” Arradondo wrote.

Twin Cities Pride organizers last year decided to limit the presence of police at the event, which took place about a week after Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony police officer, was acquitted of all charges in the shooting death of Philando Castile during a July 2016 traffic stop. Organizers reversed course before the event, and the parade was disrupted by protestors who slowed its progress down Hennepin Avenue.

Darcie Baumann, chair of the Twin Cities Pride Board of Directors, said festival organizers heard from many people both for and against the participation of police. The decision to restrict officers from marching in uniform was Arradondo’s alone, Baumann said.

“We respect his decision,” she said.

Asked if a police contingent might march in the parade in the future, Baumann said, “That will be a decision that will be made by the officers of the various police departments.”

“I hope so,” she added. “Twin Cities Pride is all about inclusion and all about living your authentic self.”