Jun 6, 2022 - News

Police welcome at Motor City Pride

Animated illustration of flashing rainbow police lights.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Some LGBTQ+ event organizers across the country are saying police can't officially take part in parades, but officers will be marching in Detroit's Motor City Pride parade at noon Sunday.

Why it matters: Police shootings of Black Americans and the fact that the 1969 Stonewall uprising was a riot against over-policing have some Pride organizers across the country reconsidering officer participation, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.

What's happening: Police will be monitoring social media for any potential threats ahead of the Detroit event and controlling traffic during the parade. Plus, LGBTQ+ officers can march in the parade, as they have in past years.

  • Yes, but: Motor City Pride hired a private company, City Shield, to do its security on the fenced-in festival grounds at Hart Plaza Saturday and Sunday, event chair Dave Wait tells Axios.
  • "We do know there's members of the community that are not comfortable with the police presence, so we kinda go with a 'middle-of-the-road' approach," he says.

Between the lines: Motor City Pride has a "good" relationship with the Detroit Police Department, Wait says, pointing to DPD's designated LGBT liaison, Cpl. Dani Woods.

  • "We've been welcomed with open arms each year and we hope that continues," Rudy Harper, Detroit 2nd deputy police chief, tells Axios.

The other side: "To me, (having police at Pride) brings up the question of safety, and how different people in the LGBTQIA community are kept safe," Tristan Taylor, an organizer with police brutality activist group Detroit Will Breathe, tells Axios.

  • "For a lot of the people who don't see the police as safe, having them present really opens up a lot of questions about what Pride actually is," Taylor, who is bisexual, added.
  • It's "tone deaf," he said, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, for the festival to not at least have a "deeper conversation" about it.

Flashback: Former police chief James Craig faced criticism in 2019 for the department escorting neo-Nazis to protest during Motor City Pride.

Zoom out: The San Francisco Police Officers Pride Alliance recently announced they would not march in this year's parade because Pride organizers have banned them from wearing their uniforms.

Police officers with flags stand next to a police car with a rainbow wrap.
Detroit police officers at Motor City Pride in 2019. Photo courtesy of Detroit Police Department
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