It appears that LGBT police officer have been told they will not be allowed to march in a pride parade in Madison, Wisconsin, after receiving previous approval. OutReach LGBT Community Center who made the decision told the local news outlet the Wisconsin State Journal that there were concerns with officers participating armed and in uniform.
The organizers originally approved the police marching in plain clothes and without a squad car, but it appears that members of the community still protested their participation. Shawn Lutzow and Johana Heineman-Pieper cited concerns for people of color and marginalized groups if the police were allowed to march.
So, the two decided to organize a Community Pride Coalition with other groups to protest the involvement of officers in the parade. “We are not promoting police marching as a contingent, which is very different from not allowing officers to march as individuals in other organizations or from attending the event as a spectator,” said Heineman-Pieper.
Police Lt. Brian Chaney Austin who founded the Madison Police Department Pride, said he was disappointed but hopes to facilitate further dialogue between the groups. “There were some hearts broken, there were some tears shed, but we know there’s work that needs to be done and we want to take that on,” Austin said.
Dave Mahoney of the Dane County Sheriff’s office said: “is an opportunity to open the door to further dialogue with the LGBT community.”
You might remember earlier this year in Toronto, uniformed police were told to remove their application to march in the city’s pride parade and officers in Minneapolis were told by their chief not to wear their uniforms in the parade.