Photo: Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau
Minneapolis’ first openly gay police chief responded sharply Thursday to a decision by organizers of the Twin Cities Pride Parade to ask her department to minimize its participation in Sunday’s annual event due to tensions over the police shooting of Philando Castile.
They said in a statement that they’re trying to respect the pain that many people are feeling following last week’s acquittal of St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who killed the black school cafeteria worker during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last July.
But Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who is lesbian, sent a letter to Twin Cities Pride executive director Dot Belstler calling the decision “divisive” and saying it “really hurt so many in our community,” including LGBT officers and their families.
Harteau said she was “beyond disappointed” that she wasn’t consulted before the group went public with its request, and she pointed out that she was the parade’s grand marshal three years ago.
“Despite your decision, I assure you that as we have in the past, our team of officers assigned to work the parade will do all they can to ensure it is a safe and successful event,” the chief wrote.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, called the decision shameful and disturbing.
“For an organization that prides itself on being accepting and inclusive, the hypocrisy amazes me,” he said.
Darcie Baumann, the board chairwoman of Twin Cities Pride, said the group didn’t intend to make anyone feel excluded.
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