Toronto Police aren't wanted at Pride Parade
Six of Toronto's most prominent LGBTQ community leaders have joined forces in an effort to keep to keep this year's Pride Parade safe, peaceful, and welcoming to vulnerable members of the community.
This, according to the group, means keeping police officers out of the parade.
Pride Toronto released a statement on Facebook and Twitter to that effect last night, co-signed by the executive directors of The 519, The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, and Sherbourne Health Centre.
"We write to you today both as individuals, deeply touched by the violent loss of people in our communities, and on behalf of those we serve in our respective community-based organizations," reads the statement.
"It is an incredibly difficult and complex time."
Joint public statement about police participation in Pride Toronto's 2018 parade. Signed by The 519, Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, Sherbourne Health Centre, ASAAP, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) and Pride Toronto. #prideto pic.twitter.com/oG5XFyaD5B— Pride Toronto (@PrideToronto) April 3, 2018
The group goes on to request that police officers withdraw their application to march in 2018's Pride Parade, as the presence of officers could further alienate and endanger members of the community who already feel marginalized.
"We recognize steps have been taken to work in collaboration and consultation to understand what we need to be safe," reads the statement. "This will not be accomplished in one day."
The relationship between Pride Toronto and Toronto Police Services had already been strained for years ahead of 2018, but tensions are especially high in the wake of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur's arrest.
How police handled the investigation into McArthur, who targeted gay men in the Church and Wellesley area, has "severely shaken our community's already often tenuous trust in the city's law enforcement," says the group.
"The relationship cannot be mended through a parade."
In wake of systemic persecutory practice against LGBT peoples and their malfeasance in series of murders in village spanning a decade, @TorontoPolice have been asked to withdraw their insulting request to march at PRIDE. https://t.co/DIPUJqtiz9— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) April 3, 2018
Earlier this year, police union president Mike McCormack said that officers were "in discussions with Pride Toronto on the status of their parade presence in June" – though nothing had been confirmed.
He told the Star that police were hoping Pride would reconsider its position on meeting the demands made by Black Lives Matter in 2016.
Last year, officers were forbidden by Pride Toronto to wear their uniforms, bring cruisers or enter police floats in the 2017 parade, sparking backlash among citizens, city councillors and police officials.
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