SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Pride’s Board Directors voted and decided to ban uniformed San Francisco Police Department officers from participating in 2021 Pride Parade on Wednesday, September 2.
San Francisco Pride concluded that they won’t welcome the San Francisco Police Department’s Pride Alliance in 2021 Pride Parade, due to police’s violent acts in the parade 2019 and “decades of mistrust between the department and the city’s LGBTQ+ communities.”
Executive Director Fred Lopez and President/Board of Directors Carolyn Wysinger of San Francisco Pride said in the statement:
“Needless to say, SF Pride is disappointed and frustrated” by violence of the Police Department’s Pride Alliance in the 2019 Pride Parade. They reported that when a group of demonstrators interrupted in the parade peacefully, the San Francisco Police Department “unexpectedly and rashly overreacted to the disruption,” which made an even larger confusion.
Footage on social media documented violence at the parade and Saldivar and Kenneth Bilecki, where two of the demonstratorswere arrested later. After the parade, the Department of Police Accountability investigated the officers’ conduct for over a year. In addition, San Francisco Pride claimed that the SFPD’s charges should be dismissed, in letters to the court and at a press conference. An appeal from Pride to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin resulted in all charges against Saldivar and Bilecki being dropped.
SFPD Police Chief William Scott commented to Pride’s decision stating:
“As the Chief of Police, I am disappointed in the Pride Board’s decision to exclude uniformed SFPD Officers from participating in the 2021 Pride Parade.”
He also said he believes it important that SFPD participate in the parades, in order to show that the SFPD is willing to work closely with the LGBTQ community, and show young people that “we are united as a community in inclusiveness, diversity and acceptance.”