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By Grace Carr
Black Lives Matter advocates attempted to hold up the Minneapolis Pride Parade Sunday by protesting the inclusion of police in the march.
A group of about 75 protesters — some of which wore rainbow garb and carried a “Justice for Philando” banner while shouting slogans like “No KKKops at Pride!” — briefly blocked intersections and caused several slowdowns on Minneapolis’ Hennepin Avenue. They claimed that the Pride event was perpetuating “white supremacy” and “ignoring the trauma” caused by the verdict earlier this month in the Philando Castile case, according to the Huffington Post.
The city’s parade organizers originally chose to exclude police following the acquittal of Jeronimo Yanez — the police officer who shot Castile in 2016 — but decided to re-invite them Friday, according to Star Tribune. Over 30 officers marched in the parade, including Janeé Harteau, Minneapolis’s first lesbian police chief, who led the effort to have officers reinstated.
“I think they can march,” said parade-goer Saddia Washington of Champlin. “Not every police officer is a bad person. As long as they’re rainbow, I’m fine.”
“Gay Pride is not about hiding yourself. It’s about being yourself,” Washington’s friend Jasmine Looney added.
“I think they should march, period,” married couple Don Jones and Bob Driscoll of Minneapolis said, adding that broad inclusion should prevail.
However, not all parade-goers shared similar sentiments. “I feel police do a really good job in the schools, [but] I supported the original decision [to exclude police], and I don’t really appreciate them overturning it,” said a St. Paul public school teacher. “Pride started out because of police brutality. I believe Yanez should be in jail. If police are brutalizing people of color in our state, it’s hard to want to celebrate them.”
Most spectators were unaware of the protesters and assumed that the stops were caused by traffic lights, Star Tribune reported. No one was arrested, according to police spokesman Corey Schmidt, and law enforcement officers made no attempts to interrupt protesters.