SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego Pride announced Thursday they will not allow law enforcement agencies to have a contingent in the Pride Parade or a booth at the Pride Festival as a show of support for the black LGBTQ community and until policing changes are made.
San Diego Pride's statement comes amid a major push for police reform and defunding across the nation in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
In a letter to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Pride officials asked that he and the City of San Diego “stand with us in support of our Black LGBTQ and ally communities.”
Pride San Diego Executive Director Fernando Lopez told 10News, “It can be traumatizing for folks to see people with guns and Tasers and batons march down a parade.”
He added, “Now someone who’s black can’t take off their skin. A law enforcement officer can take off their uniform. They are a whole human being. If they want to take off their uniform and march with a peace flag or Latin X community … if the police chief wants to not wear his uniform next to me next year, I’d be happy to have him walk next to me next year.”
Pride officials laid out a 4-step action plan which they hope the mayor and city will support:
STEP 1: Law enforcement agencies will no longer have contingents in the San Diego Pride Parade or booths in our Pride Festival. This may be reassessed after the completion of Step 4.
- For Step 1, Pride officials added: "Everyone is still welcome to march, volunteer, and enjoy at Pride. San Diego Pride will continue to maintain our relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to continue serving as a bridge to our community and ensure community safety remains our number one priority. Law enforcement agencies will oversee road closures and vital safety precautions in coordination with Pride’s leadership team."
STEP 2: The City of San Diego will recognize the San Diego Pride Parade as a free speech event and no longer bill the organization for road closures and safety.
- “San Diego Pride will use these savings to enhance the safety of our event through other groups and tools. The remaining savings will fund Black-led LGBTQ programming," according to Pride officials.
- Law enforcement will still be needed to help maintain order at the event.
- "Go back to recognizing us as a free speech event. Just like you do all of our other marches and protests, just like when you close the streets for us there, just like when you work to keep us safe there, still do that work. But rather than siphoning money out of the LGBTQ community, allow us to retain those funds and invest them in the black LGBTQ community directly,” Lopez said.
STEP 3: The City of San Diego will immediately adopt the #8CantWait Campaign recommendations.
- Pride officials are asking that the remaining items in the #8CANTWAIT campaign: Ban chokeholds and strangleholds, require deescalation, duty to intervene, ban shooting at moving vehicles, and require all force be reported.
- The other three items that are part of the campaign -- require warning before shooting, exhaust all alternatives before shooting, and establish use of force continuum -- are policies in place in the City of San Diego, according to Campaign Zero.
STEP 4: Support a phased approach to policy reform recommendations centering Black LGBTQ San Diegans.
- According to officials, “San Diego Pride will host a series of intentional conversations centering Black LGBTQ voices to identify tangible reform, accountability, and transparency goals for law enforcement agencies. Pride will also amplify other issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our region arising from these conversations. These phased conversations will include LGBTQ organization leaders, elected officials and community members. We will work as an organization and in coalition to realize these goals. While we will inform law enforcement of the progress of these conversations, we will wait to welcome LGBTQ law enforcement representatives to the table once tangible goals have been set in step four.”
"San Diego Pride is not turning our back on LGBTQ law enforcement officers or any agency. What we are doing is saying that now is a time to take a moment to pause and reassess how we can heal and make progress in the name of public safety. The collective desire for real change has never been more urgent and never felt more within reach,” officials said.
In a statement to 10News, San Diego Sheriff's Department says "we continue to be open and proactive in having a dialogue so we can better understand and serve this segment of our community."
"In 2013, Sheriff Bill Gore formed an advisory board consisting of LGBTQ+ members. They meet routinely several times a year. We also have liaisons with San Diego Pride through our Community Relations Director and deputies. We welcome the recommendations of San Diego Pride and our LGBTQ+ advisory board in updating our training, policy, and procedures. Their numerous inputs are reflected comprehensively in our P&P so our deputies can perform their duties with the highest level of professionalism when engaging with members of the LGBTQ+ community."
The San Diego Police Department told 10News in a statement that they are disappointed by the decision:
"The members of the San Diego Police Department are all part of the community, including the LGBTQ community. We are disappointed with the decision made by San Diego Pride because further divide is not what we need at this critical time. We will focus on reviewing recommendations brought forth to continually strengthen community partnerships."
Mayor Faulconer also issued a statement, saying, in part, that he believed the department needs to continue to be a part of Pride:
"For years San Diego Police officers have marched in solidarity with our LGBTQ community. Our officers need to be out there continuing to engage and learn from the diverse communities they are sworn to serve and protect, including at events such as Pride. San Diego remains committed to the important work of strengthening the trust between our officers and communities."