Black Lives Matter Demands Police Abandon Pride Marches

PHOTO: REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A Black Lives Matter chapter demanded New York police abandon gay Pride Marches Sunday, claiming the officers were a threat to the safety of black people.

BLM’s New York City organizers Kei Williams and Kleaver Cruz wrote an open letter calling for the complete removal of all New York Police Department officers and Pride decorated police cars.

They demanded “the removal of uniformed police and PRIDE-detailed vehicles from the NYC Pride parade.”

“As a human rights organization, GOAL-NY should be addressing the issues of local public safety issues within the NYPD Black and Brown communities across all precincts in NYC especially among those who identify as LGBTIQ,” the group wrote.

The move comes after Black Lives Matter Toronto refused to participate in Pride marches due to police presence at the events. Citing BLM Toronto as inspiration, BLM NYC claimed the “hyper militarization” of the NYPD posed a threat to black people, especially to black transgender men and women.

Too often, black transgender people have been harassed by NYPD officers, organizers wrote.

“As many people in NYC fawn over the NYPD’s participation in Pride events, we cannot forget the dangers that one of the biggest military forces poses to Black communities. In standing with BLM-Toronto, we must call to awareness the hyper-militarization of local police,” BLM NYC went on in the letter. “…We know that 92% of those arrested for fare beating are Black & Brown folks, and we have accounts of how trans women, who are among the most impoverished communities, are treated by the NYPD for something as simple as not having $2.75 for public transportation.”

The group suggested that sponsors of Pride marches also take a stand against the presence of police at the events. Rather than donate money to the march, corporations could offer reparations to families who had relatives shot by police.

“Being the two leading corporate sponsors, T-Mobile and Walmart could start this process by reinvesting the $1.7-million spent in sponsoring NYC Pride into reparations for families like the ones of David Felix and Delrawn Dempsey Small whose anniversary of his murder is approaching in two weeks,” the group wrote.

A black gay Canadian spoke out on the concept of banning police officers from Pride marches earlier this month, calling out Black Lives Matter Toronto for its “divisive tactics” after it tried to shut down a Pride pride last year because police were involved.

“I, like many people who make up what is likely the silent majority, believe that the Toronto police should be allowed to participate in the gay Pride parade in their uniforms. For one thing, more uniformed officers would mean help would be easier to find if someone is in distress and immediately needs assistance,” Orville Lloyd Douglas wrote.

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