MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis police officers won’t be wearing their uniforms in the up-coming Pride parade.
Chief Medaria Arradondo issued a statement Tuesday, saying that his decision comes in the wake of last year’s disagreement over officers’ participation in the parade following the verdict in the Philando Castile shooting trial.
“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,” the chief’s statement said.
Instead of wearing uniforms, officers who march in next month’s parade along Hennepin Avenue will be able to wear rainbow T-shirts bearing a badge design.
“As Chief, I am committed to ensuring that the MPD increases our capacity to build allyship with our city’s LGBTIQ communities,” Arradondo said. “This will require all of us in the MPD to create opportunities for genuine dialogue. For us as a department, every day, to listen and learn from other’s life experience and seek to first understand, and then be understood.”
Last year, there was disagreement over law enforcement involvement in the parade following the acquittal of former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in Castile’s shooting death.
In the aftermath of the high-profile trial, Pride organizers initially moved to forgo police participation in the parade.
However, after a public response from then-Chief Janee Harteau, the first openly-gay person to hold the office, the decision was reversed.
Still, on the day of the parade, Black Lives Matter protesters blocked the procession, delaying it for a significant among of time. The protesters demanded, among other things, that police be removed from the parade.
The Twin Cities Pride parade is an annual event that brings throngs of people to downtown Minneapolis. This year’s parade is slated for June 24.