Anti-police protesters disrupt Twin Cities Pride Parade

30 Hayden St. Unit 204
30 Hayden St. Unit 204

26 June, 2017

Castile, a 32-year-old black man, was shot and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez in a suburb of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul during a traffic stop.

Tensions have run high in the Minneapolis suburbs since a jury acquitted Yanez for fatally shooting Castile - a legal gun owner who told the St. Anthony officer he wasn't drawing his firearm - during a traffic stop last summer.

The protest comes following a week of discussions over the role of law enforcement in the Pride parade.

This year, organizers said, there will be only one unmarked police vehicle - mandated for safety reasons - at the front of the parade. This year, it will be a lone unmarked squad and they will have "limited police participation in the parade itself", according to the statement.

Though they marched with different messages, police and protesters each found a voice in the same parade. 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". Amidst the festivities, the weekend's largest event, the Pride Parade, comes with some controversy. Harteau, who is the first openly gay police chief in Minneapolis, points out that she was the parade's grand marshal three years ago.

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"Unfortunately, we have hurt and offended the LGBTQ police officers, and that was not at all our intent", Baumann said.

Chief Harteau did thank Pride organizers for their decision, but Union President Bob Kroll said it's too late.

"I understand that people are angry and we can respect their feelings, but ... if we can't work together, it gets more challenging to become better as a community, as a police department". This lead to the pride organizors decision.

A spokeswoman for Twin Cities Pride said the group is preparing a response later Thursday. 'But in the wake of the verdict, we want to be sensitive to the population that is grieving ... and seeing those uniforms brings angst and tension and the feeling of unrest'.

The Twin Cities community, still reeling from the acquittal of officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile, has embraced the black lives matter movement.

Some of the protesters were chanting: "No justice, no peace, no pride in police". "Make Pride revolutionary again", and others.

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