American News May 15, 2021 9:47 PM EST

New York City Pride bans NYPD presence to 'create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities'

The organizers of the New York City Pride March are "taking steps" to ensure police officers are not included in the parade.

New York City Pride bans NYPD presence to 'create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities'
Brendan Boucher Ottawa, ON
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The organizers of the New York City Pride March are "taking steps" to ensure police officers are not included in the parade.

NY Pride organizer have told the NYPD that all police officers must stay at least one city block away from the Pride March this year. Instead, the Pride organizers have decided to contract  "all aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers" reads a statement from NYC Pride.

"An increased budget for security and first response will allow NYC Pride to independently build a first response emergency plan using private security and provide safety volunteers with de-escalation training for first response when necessary," continues the statement. NYC Pride cite concerns over police use of force incidents over the past year and beyond as the reason they are excluding NYPD from the event.

The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) President Brian Downey said in a statement, "[NYC Pride] is well 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 honouring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots. 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."

GOAL said as a whole they are "disheartened" by the choice of NYC Pride. NYC Pride said they are trying "to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate."

It remains to be seen if the march will be allowed to proceed with the plan proposed by NYC Pride as security may be a concern with no police presence. Other than GOAL, the city nor the police department has responded to NYC Pride's requested arrangement.

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