Image via Shutterstock. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden has responded after Charlotte Pride banned police presence at future Pride events.
Image via Shutterstock.

The LGBTQ+ advocacy group refuses police presence at future Pride marches in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters. 

Charlotte Pride, the organization that hosts the city’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride parade, is “tearing down bridges” by banning police participation in its annual events, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said Friday.

“I thought we were supposed to continue to build relationships in our community,” McFadden told The Charlotte Observer, two days after the LGBTQ+ advocacy and outreach group said it was acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter demonstrators. 

The advocacy and outreach group said in a statement on Twitter last week that it will do so until leaders are convinced law enforcement agencies “are committed to the meaning of Black Lives Matter and treat Black and Brown people with dignity and respect.” 

The statement is part of Charlotte Pride’s annual Stonewall resolution, which commemorates the June 1969 series of uprisings in New York City that ushered in the modern era of LGBTQ+ advocacy.

“Charlotte Pride…believes that the fight for black and brown lives is inextricably bound together with our fight for LGBTQ liberation,” the statement said.

In a response to McFadden Saturday, Charlotte Pride spokesperson Matt Comer said: “Charlotte Pride stands by our statement that all law enforcement — as a system — needs to be drastically changed to better serve the most marginalized members of our community, in particular Black and Brown LGBTQ people.”

The Charlotte Pride Parade, which celebrates the city’s LGBTQ community, attracted close to 200,000 participants last year. The parade and festival initially scheduled for this summer has been canceled to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to banning police presence, Charlotte Pride’s board of directors voted unanimously last week to make the presence of law enforcement officers who provide safety at public events like the parade “less visible.” 

And Pride said it would ask the city of Charlotte to redirect funds earmarked for police to public health, affordable housing, and initiatives aiding people of color. Language encouraging local, state and federal officials to ban the use of tear gas and chemical agents by law enforcement agencies was also issued by the board.