Irish/LGBTQ Coalition Slams NYPD Commissioner’s Decision to Join St. Patrick’s Day Parade

NYPD Commissioner, William J Bratton. [Image:]

NYPD Commissioner, William J Bratton. [Image:]

“NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s announcement that he will march in the homophobic St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue is a slap in the face to LGBTQ people and all New Yorkers,” said JF Mulligan of Irish Queers.

“The Commissioner’s one-word dismissal of a boiling civil rights issue is insulting and deliberately provocative. Bratton should be joining the Mayor and the City Council in refusing to endorse the insistent bigotry of the parade organizing committee.” 

A coalition of more than 200 groups and individuals concerned with LGBTQ rights and biased policing had written to NYPD Commissioner Bratton and FDNY Commissioner Cassano last week, outlining their obligation to withdraw their official endorsement from biased events. Neither Commissioner responded. (See letter here.)

“This parade was recast as a ‘private, religious procession’ for the sole purpose of circumventing anti-discrimination law. How are we supposed to watch thousands of cops march in an exclusionary, religious-right parade and then somehow trust them with our safety?” said Mulligan.

“Commissioner Bratton’s refusal even to acknowledge the LGBTQ community’s concern is a glaring confirmation that the NYPD is not accessible to us. Commissioner Bratton’s history in NYC inspires fear, not confidence, in communities who have been the targets of NYPD bias. His casual disregard translates directly to homophobia in the precincts,” said Jennifer Flynn of Irish Queers.

Early in February, the coalition petitioned Mayor de Blasio to pull uniformed City officials from the parade. The Mayor has not agreed to do that, although the request prompted the Mayor’s announcement that he would not attend the parade himself.

“The Mayor’s boycott of the parade is undermined by Commissioner Bratton’s declaration of his intention to march. The Mayor has to take action to stand the City in opposition to this parade. If police in Russia marched in an anti-gay parade, it would be front page news here,” said Flynn.

“The NYPD and FDNY’s participation in the parade is hugely questionable under the law – and the fact that the Mayor doesn’t seem concerned with remedying this problem is as disturbing legally as it is morally and politically,” said civil rights attorney Alan Levine in an earlier statement.

Government ministers in Ireland are also supporting the boycott and calling on Ireland’s conservative prime minister to stay away. LGBTQ organizations in Ireland have called on the Irish government and Gardaí (police) to shun the parade and reject its skewed portrayal of Irish culture.

The coalition will march in the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens this Sunday.


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