Gay police group blasts NYC Pride for banning officers from events

A gay officers group says it was disheartened after a “shameful” decision by organizers of certain Pride gatherings in New York City to ban police from their events.

NYC Pride says its new policy banning “corrections and law enforcement exhibitors” through at least 2025 will improve safety at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, people of color – and trans communities, has continued to escalate.

“NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events,” the group said. “All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders and volunteers will be reviewed.”

The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) said NYC Pride has long been a valued partner.

“The abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful,” GOAL said.

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GOAL President Brian Downey said NYC Pride is aware that the city would not allow a large scale event to occur without police presence.

“So their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy,” Downey said. “It is demoralizing that (NYC Pride) didn’t have the courage to refer to GOAL by name in its announcement, referring to us only as ‘law enforcement exhibitors.’ The label is not only offensive but dehumanizing for our members.”

NYC Pride said it will increase its budget for security and first response so it can independently build an emergency plan using private security and trained volunteers. NYPD will provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials, NYC Pride said.

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The group said it was unwilling to “contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community.” 

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 said. “The steps being taken by the organization challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward.”

People participate in the NYC Pride March on June 30, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Kena Betancur, Getty Images)

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