NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City
events announced Saturday that police and other law enforcement will be barred from marching in their massive annual parade until at least 2025, and that on-duty officers will be kept a block away from the celebration of LGBTQ people
In a statement, NYC Pride urged law enforcement to "acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving
“The sense of safety that law enforcement is supposed to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most frequently targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” the group stated.
It will also increase the security budget for the event in order to increase the presence of community-based security and first responders while decreasing the presence of the police department.
Police will provide first response and security “only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials,” according to the group, which added that it hoped to keep officers at least one city block away from event perimeter areas where possible.
The Gay Officers Action League expressed disappointment with the decision in a press release on Friday.
The ban was described as an "abrupt about-face" by the group, who added that the decision was made "to appease some of our community's activists."
The parade is set for June after the coronavirus
wiped out many Pride events around the world last year, including in New York, which instead hosted virtual performances in front of masked participants and honored front-line workers in the pandemic
The disruptions stymied activists' plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the first Gay Pride parades and marches in Chicago, Los Angeles
, New York, and San Francisco
Those marches took place a year after the 1969 uprising outside Manhattan
's Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in response to a police raid
, which is widely credited with sparking the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
This year's Pride season is marked by activism inspired by the response to racial injustice and police brutality
in the aftermath of George Floyd
at the hands of Minneapolis
police last year.
The announcement by Pride NYC on Saturday comes after a split among organizers in recent years regarding LGBTQ pride celebrations in New York City.
After some in the community concluded that the annual parade had become too commercialized, there were two marches in Manhattan in 2019. The Queer Liberation March aimed for a protest vibe, claiming that the main Pride march was overly policed by the same department that raided Stonewall a half-century earlier.
During a press conference in 2019, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly apologized for the raid, calling it "wrong, plain and simple."
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department
, Detective Sophia Mason, said on Saturday that the department's "annual work to ensure a safe, enjoyable Pride season has been increasingly embraced by its participants."
“The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and contradicts our shared values of inclusion and tolerance,” she added, “but we will still be there to ensure traffic safety and good order during this massive, complex event.”