New York City Pride organizers are barring police officers from marching in the annual parade for at least the next four years. They will also seek to limit law enforcement’s security presence, asking officers to maintain a distance of one block between themselves and the event at all times.
Organizers said they would put more of the event’s budget toward community responders and trained volunteers in lieu of relying on the New York Police Department.
“The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason,” the group said in a statement reported by the Associated Press. “NYPD will provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials.”
The organizers said they would re-evaluate the policy in 2025.
In response, the Gay Officers Action League—an organization for LGBTQ law enforcement personnel—accused organizers of being motivated by a desire to “placate some of the activists in [their] community,” calling the new policy “shameful.”
The decision comes a little more than a year after the police killing of George Floyd spurred nationwide demonstrations, which took place in some form nearly every day throughout the late-spring and summer in New York City. The calls for justice for Floyd evolved into a larger collective demand to defund the police, a goal that involves organizations, institutions, and governments eventually divesting completely from police.
And of course the LGBTQ rights movement itself is founded on opposition to police violence perpetrated by the NYPD, whose officers raided the Stonewall Inn in 1969.
“Why would we want to justify what the police have been doing this year, and years before, and decades before? No. It’s about time that we’ve done away with this,” Ceyenne Doroshow, a trans and sex workers rights advocate told BuzzFeed News. “The fact that it is Pride and the police have been particularly horrible to my community, I never want their presence.”