SPD banned from participating in Pride Parade, debate ensues
Seattle police will not participate in Sunday’s Pride parade after a decision by acting police chief Adrian Diaz, making it the first time in nearly 30 years that the SPD will miss the parade.
Earlier this month, parade officials said they would not allow any uniformed officers to participate.
“Due to the history of Stonewall Sunday and the fact that Pride was born out of a riot against police brutality, Seattle Pride will not allow police uniforms, police vehicles, police badges or police propaganda to march in the eventualities of a parade,” the executive said. Seattle Pride Board of Directors Announced.
The Stonewall Riots began on June 28, 1969, and lasted six days after New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police brutally pulled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to protests and violent clashes.
Diaz said the department made a group decision on Wednesday that those terms were not acceptable and that the officers would not be part of the parade. He wrote a letter, posted on the department’s blotter page, addressing the SPD’s problems with the decision.
The board’s decision, described as “discriminatory, demeaning, hateful and antiquated” by SPD Missing Persons Unit Detective Aimee LaClaire, disappointed more than 100 LGBTQ+ officers, commanders and civilian staff across the country. SPD, many of whom have participated in past pride parades. , according to Diaz’s letter.
” It’s a big problem. Seattle has the fourth largest Pride Parade in the country. It’s a really big party,” radio host Travis Mayfield told Seattle Morning News on KIRO Newsradio. “And for me, as an openly gay man whose father served 40 years in the police, I get both sides here. But if someone is going to reach out to shake your hand, even if you have a tradition of not fully understanding each other, maybe you should squeeze it and see if you can understand each other.
More than 1,300 people approved of a police ban when interviewed by Seattle Pride in May 2021. However, Diaz confirmed that uniformed SPD officers would man the parade on Sunday to ensure public safety.
Seattle Pride stood by its position, saying in a press release in response to Diaz’s letter that the “SPD has effectively brought the LGBTQIA+ community to light for those who share ideologies with hate groups, and invites a repeat of the targeted threats and violence against our community as we prepare for our first in-person celebration in three years.
Pride flags torn and burned outside a Seattle restaurant
Reports of hate crimes and bias incidents against the LGBTQ+ community continue to rise each year in Seattle, according to Diaz. In 2012, 35 such crimes were reported. In 2021, there were 147.
“I hate the overdone symbolism of ‘we don’t want you here because you caused trauma’ and I understand the trauma is real and a lot of people have had to deal with it, but it just seems ridiculous to me.” said Spike O’Neill, a guest host for the Gee and Ursula Show opposite Mayfield, “I mean, it seems like such a bad idea. Bad PR move. It’s such a social posturing.”
“I understand the history of violence, I understand the trauma associated with it, I understand all of those things. But I also think at some point you want to go beyond that. And the idea of having uniformed police standing and waving pride flags and being part of the event feels like they’re part of that desire to go above and beyond,” Mayfield said in answer. “And, let’s be honest, Pride parades take a lot of advertising dollars from a lot of companies that do a lot of ugly things behind people’s backs. It looks like an arbitrary line in the sand to be drawn.
This is not the first incident where police have been banned from Pride events. Last month, Capitol Hill Pride Fest (CHPF) directors Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson announced that the SPD would be banned from the CHPF march and rally on June 26 and 27 at Cal Anderson Park.
Capitol Hill Pride bans police for June 2021 march and rally
New York Pride has banned police presence at their events through 2025.
“It’s an act of bigotry. I think that’s the best way to describe it, and as I spoke with some members today who identify as LGBTQ and they’re angry. They are mad. They are frustrated,” Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG), said during the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It’s another slap in the face to just be a human. The fact that you are a police officer and removed from your community that you identify with is meant to be global. For them, it is the most disrespectful, dishonest and appalling human decision.
The San Francisco Pride also tried to boycott the police, but the mayor of London Breed struck a deal between members of the city’s police department and representatives of the San Francisco Pride organization, the mayor said earlier this month. Breed said she would publicly boycott the event if the police were banned.
“And what I saw in San Francisco was real leadership from someone with conviction, standing up for what is right and decent, and what embodies inclusivity and pushes back against fringe groups who try to slander and smear the members of our community and the police,” Solan said. “And I would like to see some type of leadership in the city of Seattle outside of what the police say about it. The police are members of the community.
Mayor Bruce Harrell has yet to comment on Seattle Pride’s decision as of press time.