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Twin Cities Pride is now inviting police officers to march in the parade

The Pride parade this week had said law enforcement wouldn't be allowed to participate – a decision met with criticism.

Apologizing to police officers for poor communication and saying they "fell short" of their goal to be inclusive, Twins Cities Pride organizers said law enforcement will now be invited to march in the Pride Parade.

In Friday morning's announcement, Twin Cities Pride Executive Director Dot Belstler said their "intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late."

But their earlier decision to simply ban uniformed officers from taking part in this weekend's parade "fell short" of their mission to foster inclusion.

Organizers made that call earlier this week after community members expressed concern following the Jeronimo Yanez verdict. It was quickly met with dismay by some police officers and officials, including Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau – who is the city's first openly gay police chief.

“I really struggle to see how this decision helps our community heal and the message of division and not inclusion is hurtful to many of us," Harteau wrote in a letter to Pride Parade organizers, describing herself as "beyond disappointed" they felt they couldn't discuss it with her first.

Organizers take back that decision

That message seems to have resonated with Belstler, who said they "recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded."

Pride officials met with Harteau and Roxanne Anderson of The Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition Thursday to find an "inclusive" solution.

An unmarked police car will lead the march, as was always the plan. And Twin Cities Pride is now openly inviting officers to participate "by holding the Unity flag or marching alongside the Rainbow, Bisexual, or Transgender flags," the statement says.

Belstler adds they'll "continue to respect" the "pain and angst" being felt by people of color and transgender communities, and plan to keep talking while finding solutions that make every group "feel comfortable and safe."

Harteau responded to the reversal Friday afternoon:

The latest from Chief Harteau on Pride

The latest from Chief Janee Harteau on Twin Cities Pride:
“I want to recognize and acknowledge everyone's viewpoints. I also want to thank Pride for their decision after a very thoughtful conversation yesterday. I look forward to future discussions, I look forward to seeing everybody out at the parade on Sunday, and I want to wish everybody a happy Pride!”

Posted by Minneapolis Police Department on Friday, June 23, 2017

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