Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told Minneapolis police officers Tuesday they will not be marching in uniform in the city's annual Pride parade, following a public clash last year with some event organizers who did not want law enforcement to participate at all.
"My decision is based in part on the adamant opposition of law enforcement's participation by some representatives of our local LGBTIQ communities who have stated they feel strongly they do not want any law enforcement officers marching in uniform in the parade," Arradondo said in a statement on behalf of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
"Representatives have conveyed to me that there is still a great deal of pain and harm that has occurred in their community, specifically our LGBTIQ communities of color, which has not been completely heard and addressed," he said.
Dot Belstler, executive director of Twin Cities Pride, which celebrates the area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, expressed mixed feelings about the chief's decision. She said it will make some participants more comfortable, but it will be difficult for LGBT officers.
"It's his call on how he wanted to present the MPD this year," she said. "So we're honoring that."
Last June, Pride organizers asked law enforcement not to participate in the parade after the acquittal of St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was charged in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop.
At the time, parade organizers said the move was to "respect the pain the community is feeling right now."
Then-Chief Janeé Harteau, who was the first openly gay person to hold the position, called the decision "divisive" and took to Twitter to fight critics who called her "dangerous." Pride organizers ultimately reversed their position days before the event, and police officers marched in the parade.
Belstler said last year's initial move by organizers didn't represent Pride as a whole, and she said the debate had escalated quickly. She said Arradondo met with Pride organizers earlier this week and told them his plan for this year.
Arradondo said officers not in uniform can march in the parade and will be permitted to wear rainbow shirts with a badge design on the front.
"I am hopeful that through listening, learning and healing with members of our LGBTIQ community we as members of the MPD will get to a place in the near future where we will be able to participate fully as our authentic selves and march in the annual Minneapolis PRIDE parade," he said in the statement.
This year's Twin Cities Pride Festival will take place on June 23-24. The festival typically attracts tens of thousands of people to downtown Minneapolis.