Twin Cities Pride apologizes, invites police officers to march in parade

Twin Cities Pride organizers now say they will allow police officers to participate in the start of Sunday’s parade after receiving backlash for their decision to scale back law enforcement presence at the event.

Earlier this week, Twin Cities Pride announced they would have only one, unmarked police car – as required by law – to clear the way for the parade, as opposed to the several marked squad cars that typically roll down Hennepin Avenue at the start.

Organizers said they wanted to “respect the pain the community is feeling” after Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile. But, members of the law enforcement community, particularly LGBT members, were hurt by the decision.

On Thursday night, Pride organizers met with Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau and others to discuss alternative solutions. On Friday, they apologized and invited officers to march in the parade. 

“We recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission,” 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.”

Members of the law enforcement community are invited to participate in the parade by holding the unity flag or marching alongside the rainbow, bisexual or transgender flags, according to a news release. However, an unmarked police car will still lead the parade.

"We would like to apologize to the law enforcement community for neglecting to communicate and consider input for other possible alternatives prior to releasing the details of this decision," organizers said. 

The Twin Cities Pride Parade will take place at 11 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis.