Minnesota

Twin Cities Pride invites police to march in parade amid backlash

Pride parade organizers in Minnesota have apologized for asking local law enforcement officers to limit their participation in a parade scheduled for Sunday.

Parade organizers issued a statement Friday announcing a reversal of their decision after meeting with Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, the city’s first openly gay police chief.

TWIN CITIES PRIDE LIMITS POLICE PARTICIPATION IN PARADE

“We recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission to foster inclusion," Dot Belstler, the executive director of Twin Cities Pride, said in a statement. "Our intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late, but our original approach fell short of our mission."

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Twin Cities Pride said that despite the legal requirement to have a police car lead their parade, they “decided to forgo this part of the police participation in the parade for this year.”

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? RACE TINGES LGBT CELEBRATIONS

Organizers said they wanted to “respect the pain the community is feeling right now” following the verdict in the trial of Jeronimo Yanez and Philando Castile. Castile, a black motorist, was fatally shot by former Minnesota police officer Yanez, a Latino. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter in Castile’s death earlier this month.

Now “one unmarked police car will clear the way as originally stated,” organizers said online. Law enforcement officers are now welcome to “participate in the parade by holding the Unity flag or marching alongside the Rainbow, Bisexual, or Transgender flags.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.