SEATTLE - Capitol Hill Pride & March is banning Seattle police officers during this year’s march and rally.
The organization says Capitol Hill Pride will ban police officers during the events because it "does not have confidence at this time in Seattle’s police ability to protect the public and to protect the public’s right to protest", Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson LeFevre, the Capitol Hill Pride directors said in a joint press release statement Friday.
"To the safety and courtesy of the LGBTQ and diversity community as well as the general public our responsibility is to present a safe event and is dedicated to creating an atmosphere free of fear or harm for members of the community," said LeFevre and Lipson.
The organizers also called on the SPD’s Chief of Police, Adrian Diaz to fire six officers involved in the insurrection at the nation’s Capitol in early January.
The Seattle neighborhood rally is set for June 26 and 27 at Cal Anderson Park. The organizers request officers to instead stay at the perimeters of the events to watch for any violators, hate groups, or potential disruptions. The organizers say they will continue to focus efforts instead with the local fire department and medic unit to host a safe and welcoming event.
Capitol Hill Pride March & Rally does not include Seattle Pride, the group that organizes Seattle Pride in the Park and the Seattle Pride Parade. This year the group is hosting a virtual celebration on June 26 and 27 due to health concerns and precautions surrounding COVID-19.
In response, Seattle Pride released a statement that reads in part, "The Capitol Hill Pride organization -- and its march/rally event planned for the same weekend -- is not in any way associated with Seattle Pride, nor is their decision to disallow police participation."
In a joint response regarding the Seattle inspector general's letter to SPD Chief Andrian Diaz on traffic stops, Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Mike Solan had the following statement in response to the officer ban that reads in part:
"Banning Seattle Police officers from Pride Week events is disgusting, bigoted, discriminatory and contradicts our community’s beautiful inclusive LGBTQ message. Our LGBTQ members serve our community with distinction and pride. They value inclusiveness and demand respect not only for proudly being LGBTQ but for serving our community as police officers. Anyone that believes in their banishment has no place in Seattle and does not believe in the inclusive LGBTQ message."
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