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'Craziest thing I've ever heard': New York police union boss criticizes NYC Pride law enforcement ban

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/29/2021 Jake Dima
a group of people in uniform standing in front of a building © Provided by Washington Examiner

A New York police union boss called NYC Pride organizers the "biggest hypocrites in the world" after they banned law enforcement from its flagship events, noting the police community's pride for its own gay and transgender members.

NYC Pride, which spearheads the parade in the city each year, banned the New York Police Department on May 15 from being closer than one block to its event unless it is deemed "absolutely necessary" to call uniformed police officers.

NYPD personnel are forbidden from speaking at affairs involving NYC Pride, and law enforcement officers are set to be replaced by "private security" and "safety volunteers" due to what the group said is the department's history of "violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities."

"NYC Pride will transition to providing increased community-based security and first responders, while simultaneously taking steps to reduce NYPD presence at events," according to NYC Pride.

Vincent Vallelong, the vice president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, one of the largest police unions in the Empire State, called NYC Pride's move "the craziest thing" he's "ever heard." The law enforcement veteran, who patrolled the streets in his earlier days, said "one radical group" could derail an event without officers present to stop it.

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"I really appreciate their public opinions on how public safety is taken care of. However, I've been at the pride parade before. I've worked at major demonstrations in the city before, and that is the craziest thing I've ever heard," he told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

"Going out [and getting] anybody to sign up to be observers is not going to help them one bit because [if] you get one radical group that decides they want to cause a problem, who's going to come in? Who are they going to call at that point?" he asked.

Vallelong criticized the recruitment of "safety volunteers" and their inexperience with crowd control.

"What happens when that person who has no experience decides that they're going to put their hands on somebody?" he said. "Let's say that they do some really severe physical injury to an individual — what happens when that person takes them into custody? Where do they plan on bringing them?"

"Are they going to just scold them with harsh words?" he asked.

The decision was made to reduce an "atmosphere of fear and harm," NYC Pride said. The move will remain in place until 2025.

"NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate," organizers wrote. "The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason. NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community."

The union boss spoke on behalf of officers who are in or have family in the LGBT community, saying the decision was discriminatory and hypocritical for NYC Pride, an organization that has fought exclusion in the past.

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"It's a shame because we have men, women on our job that have children [and] this is a very, very big day for them," he said. "They have their own families. It's really disgusting. It's sad. It makes no sense."

"They're doing exactly what it is that they've been fighting against for the longest period of time," he said. "These are a bunch of people that should really look in a mirror because they are the biggest hypocrites in the world."

NYC Pride did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner.

Tags: News, LGBT, NYPD, New York City, New York, Police, Law Enforcement, Unions, Transgender Issues, Transgender

Original Author: Jake Dima

Original Location: 'Craziest thing I've ever heard': New York police union boss criticizes NYC Pride law enforcement ban

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