Racism Movement

The NYPD Has No Place at Pride

By Candacé King on June, 27 2024

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If there was ever an institution that consistently and spectacularly fails the vibe check, it would be the New York City Police Department. While thousands of members of the LGBTQIA+ communities and their allies gear up to display their pride in full color for the nation’s largest pride march at the end of the month, the uninvited NYPD has decided to rain on the parade with unfounded “warnings” of a “foreign threat.”  

"What should be a time for joy and celebration is also a reminder of all the evil that exists in this world," warned NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban last week. "So we must plan accordingly to ensure this month is also safe." 

While the NYPD has yet to identify any specific, credible threats to the Pride March, they are persistent in fear-mongering New Yorkers about a mysterious threat from the outside while ignoring the fact that they are the biggest threat to LGBTQIA+ communities within our own borders.  

While these concerns of safety and position of allyship from Commissioner Caban are performative at best, the disrespect from the NYPD towards the LGBTQIA+ communities is loud. His support of in his words, “the freedom to love who you choose and to love who you are," is nothing more than disingenuous lip service considering that only two months ago, he failed to hold two NYPD officers accountable for shooting and killing 32-year-old Kawaski Trawick, a Black gay man. In 2019, Trawick was cooking in his home when the officers entered his house without permission. Surveillance video shows Trawick informing the officers that he was holding a knife because he was cooking. Officers shot Trawick and left his body for minutes before medical personnel arrived. Nearly five years to the day after Trawick died, Caban determined that the police officers “acted within the law for their actions.” As if losing Trawick was not painful enough, Caban added further insult to injury.  

How can we trust the words of Caban let alone his intentions for public safety at Pride when he doesn’t seem to care that police officers failed to keep Kawaski Trawick safe? In fact, there is data that proves that police target LGBTQIA+ communities. According to UCLA, LGBQ people are six times more likely than the general public to be stopped by police in a public setting. For transgender people, the threat of police violence is far greater. A 2013 report from The Anti –Violence Project found that transgender people were 7 times more likely to experience police violence as well as physical violence from law enforcement. Caban runs an institution where it is tolerated for an NYPD officer to yell painful, anti-LGBTQIA+ slurs from a loud speaker at a red light at the intersection of E. 106th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan — mere miles from where the parade is set to take place.  

Since the inception of the Pride March, the NYPD has never had a place at Pride — not as participants or as security. The first ever Pride March was held in 1970, commemorating the victory of the Stonewall Uprising, in which members of the LGBTQIA+ communities engaged in a 6-day long protest against police. As the NYCLU puts it, the Pride Parade is “a celebration of resistance and triumph over state violence and bigotry.” While now known for its joy and cascade of bright colors and rainbow flags, Pride at its core is a civil demonstration and a social protest against police violence. The NYPD’s decades late apology for their actions during Stonewall cannot begin to make up for the decades of hurt that they continue to inflict on LGBTQIA+ communities. 

In 2021, NYC Pride announced that it would ban corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025. “NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events,” the announcement states. “All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers will be reviewed.” 

We at Common Justice, the nation’s first alternative-to-incarceration and victim service organization, believe this ban should be upheld not only until 2025, but indefinitely.   

When it comes to their treatment of LGBTQIA+ communities, there is no pride at the NYPD, only punishment. And that’s nothing they should be proud of. 


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