This Pride Parade Was Just Cancelled Because Cops Refuse to Work Security

The pride parade in Aurora, Illinois, has been put on hold two weeks after organizers banned uniformed cops from marching.
Aurora Pride Parade in 2018.
Aurora's pride parade in 2018. Photo by Aurora Pride

A Pride parade in Aurora, Illinois, scheduled for Sunday is not expected to happen because the local police department says it doesn’t have enough cops available to provide security for it.

Aurora Pride, which was working alongside the city’s Community Events Division and the Aurora Police Department to put together the annual parade, announced Wednesday afternoon it no longer has the permit needed to make the June 12 festivities happen, despite an outpouring of support from “civilian sources,” the organization told VICE News.

“We were notified that we had until 12 p.m. today to do so, or our Special Events permit would be revoked at that time,” a statement from Aurora Pride reads. “We have not been able to close the gap, despite the tireless efforts of our safety team and many supporters offering their assistance. As a result, our permit is now revoked.”

In a statement, the Aurora Police Department said not enough officers were willing to take an additional shift to work the parade.

“When a privately run special event requires law enforcement support, it is offered to Aurora Police officers to work as an extra job outside of their regularly assigned duties. Extra jobs and overtime shifts are voluntary, and the department or city cannot force officers to work any overtime shifts or extra jobs,” the statement said. “As of Tuesday, we continue to fall short of the minimum number of sworn law enforcement officers needed to ensure the overall safety of the parade.”

The department says it needed 20 more officers to provide proper security for the event. Though APD noted that Aurora Pride tried to get neighboring departments to help fill the gap, none were able to do so. The annual parade has been a local tradition since 2018.

“Unless the additional officers are secured shortly, APD cannot recommend to the city that the event can proceed as planned,” said the department.

The news of the parade’s staffing issues comes two weeks after Aurora Pride announced it would ban uniformed officers from marching in the parade. At the time of the announcement, only one member of law enforcement had volunteered to work the parade, according to Aurora Pride.

“Many members of the community feel uneasy in the presence of official law enforcement vehicles, as well as uniformed officers, due to negative experiences they themselves or someone they know have had,” a statement from the organization said.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a Republican who’s also running for Illinois governor, withdrew his participation from the parade shortly after the organization’s announcement, and even tried to pull the city’s float from the event, according to ABC7 Chicago.

“It’s a little hypocritical of the organizers of the parade to say acceptance is important in our community… and say they are not going to accept our police officers—the very same police officers that work to keep our community safe and keep that parade safe,” Irvin said during a press conference June 1. “The impacted officers and the command staff of the Aurora Police Department are not in agreement with this, and I stand with our officers.”

In its statement, Aurora Pride said it’s still hoping to find another way to make the parade happen.

“We’re not giving up. Our position has been misrepresented, and we’re making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled,” it said. “Thank you for your steadfast support, and please hang tight.”

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Aurora Pride’s decision to not allow cops to attend pride parades in uniform is in line with many other pride parade organizations in cities across the country, including New York.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that San Francisco did not allow uniformed cops to march in its pride parade. Last week pride parade organizers announced it had reversed its decision.