With New York City’s Pride Parade less than two weeks away, safety concerns are arising among law enforcement members after organizers pushed for a new security policy.
NYC Pride released a statement last month on their official website declaring that they no longer desire the NYPD to be a part of the festivities on June 26 in a safety capacity. This comes after the NYPD was officially banned from marching in their uniforms last year. According to the release, NYC Pride is calling on uniformed law enforcement to steer clear of the parade and instead will be utilizing volunteers donning branded t-shirts.
“Private security firm will be hired, including setup officers, fire guards, and special event supervisors who will liaise with NYC Pride staff, security personnel, venue personnel, and government agencies. Each event venue’s security will collaborate with NYC Pride’s security liaisons,” part of the announcement read, which also included that the security has also undergone active shooter training (Pride staff and members of the Executive Board undergo this training annually as well).
This safety plan has raised concerns regarding how well those who may be less experienced could handle potential emergencies — especially in the wake of a domestic terrorist scare in Idaho last weekend.
On June 11, 31 members of a white supremacist group were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for conspiracy to commit a riot at a LGBTQ+ Pride event. The group were discovered by the Coeur d’Alene City Police Department packed into a U-Haul van donning masks and clutching shields.
In the wake of the Idaho scare, some in the police community believe having a strong NYPD security presence at the Pride March would help avoid any potential trouble or terror.
“I think that’s not a wise choice. We should have police officers manning, a march, a parade, to keep people safe. We do it each and every day, and they should feel safe while we’re there because that’s the job that we’re paid to do,” President of the Police Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch told amNewYork Metro. “Also, our members are everyone, every color, every creed, every sexual orientation. We’re part of the community, we live next door to you. So not only should we be there to protect you, we should also be there to celebrate along with you.”
However, Gays Against Guns – an organization that was founded after the Pulse nightclub shooting – stands behind the NYC Pride policy, maintaining that the police department should not have a visual presence at the march.
“The only attacks against our LGBTQIA2S communities at Pride in the last two years were attacks on Pride Sunday 2020 and 2021 by the NYPD against Pride participants at Washington Square Arch,” Gays Against Guns said in a statement.