Twin Cities Pride Organizers Apologize, Say Police Are Welcome at Parade

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Protesters demonstrating against the police and the verdict in the Philando Castile shooting trial blocked the Twin Cities Pride Parade Sunday morning, delaying its start by more than an hour.

In this image made from July 6, 2016, video captured by a camera in the squad auto of St. Anthony Police officer Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer is shown after shooting into the vehicle at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., as the 4-year-old daughter of Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, starts to get out of the auto and is grabbed by an officer.

But late last week Pride organizers walked back their decision after a talk with Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who is openly gay.

"It's time to be lifting each other up, not excluding one another".

"This does not at all reflect what they bring to the force and we appreciate them participating in Pride every year and being able to be out with their community as well", she said.

They added: "We hope this helps ease people's fears about police participation in the parade".

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Twin Cities Pride Parade organizers apologized Friday for asking law enforcement to minimize their participation in Sunday's annual event in downtown Minneapolis due to tensions over the shooting of Philando Castile, and said officers are welcome to march after all.

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FILE - In this March 30, 2016 file photo, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau speaks at a news conference, in Minneapolis.

The statement says they're required to have a police vehicle lead the parade to make sure the route is clear, so it will be a lone unmarked squad and there will be limited police participation in the parade itself.

Davis said he feels that Pride organizers reversing their decision "ignores the entire history of why Pride was started". The demonstration came after a week of controversy surrounding the parade's inclusion of police.

Later, she replied to someone on Twitter who told her not to attend.

Minneapolis police won't say how many officers have signed on to work festivities over pride weekend but those who have volunteered to work Pride will be in uniform. They claimed that the Pride event was perpetuating "white supremacy" and "ignoring the trauma" caused by the verdict earlier this month in the Castile case.

Amy Brockman, Twin Cities Pride external relations manager, said they appreciate all LGTBQ officers. Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter in Castile's death. She posted a brief video Friday thanking the Pride committee for their decision "after a very thoughtful conversation".

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