NYC Pride Parade Bans Police; Gay Officers 'Disheartened'

Associated Press

Saturday May 15, 2021

In this Sunday, June 29, 2014 file photo, NYPD police officers march along Fifth Avenue during the gay pride parade in New York.
In this Sunday, June 29, 2014 file photo, NYPD police officers march along Fifth Avenue during the gay pride parade in New York.  (Source:Associated Press)

Organizers of New York City's Pride events said Saturday they are banning police and other law enforcement from marching in their huge annual parade until at least 2025 and will also seek to keep on-duty officers a block away from the celebration of LGBTQ people and history.

In their statement, NYC Pride urged members of law enforcement to "acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward."

"The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason," the group said.

It will also increase the event's security budget to boost the presence of community-based security and first responders while reducing the police department's presence.

Police will provide first response and security "only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials," the group said, adding it hoped to keep police officers at least one city block away from event perimeter areas where possible.

Word of the ban came out Friday when the Gay Officers Action League said in a release it was disheartened by the decision.

The group called the ban an "abrupt about-face" and said the decision "to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful."

The parade is scheduled for June after the coronavirus prevented many Pride events worldwide last year, including in New York which instead hosted virtual performances in front of masked participants and honored front-line workers in the pandemic crisis.

The disruptions frustrated activists who had hoped to collectively mark the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride parades and marches in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in 1970.

Those marches came a year after the 1969 uprising outside Manhattan's Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in response to a police raid. The uprising is largely credited with fueling the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

Pride season occurs this year amid activism inspired by the response to racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death last year at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Pride NYC's announcement Saturday follows a division among organizers in recent years in planning for celebrations of LGBTQ pride in New York City.

In 2019, there were two marches in Manhattan after some in the community concluded that the annual parade had become too commercialized. The Queer Liberation March aimed for a protest vibe, saying the main Pride march was too heavily policed by the same department that raided Stonewall a half century earlier.

The New York Police Department commissioner apologized for the raid during a briefing in 2019, calling it "wrong, plain and simple."

Detective Sophia Mason, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department, said on Saturday the department's "annual work to ensure a safe, enjoyable Pride season has been increasingly embraced by its participants."

She added: "The idea of officers being excluded is disheartening and runs counter to our shared values of inclusion and tolerance. That said, we'll still be there to ensure traffic safety and good order during this huge, complex event."
Pipeline Operator Says 'Normal Operations' Have Resumed
AP-US-Pipeline-Cybersecurity-Attack, 3rd Ld-Writethru

May 15, 2021 4:35 PM - 503 words
Eds: CORRECTS: Corrects that ransomware attack occurred on May 7 and not last week. UPDATES: Adds detail about closed gas stations in North Carolina. With AP Photos.

ATLANTA — The operator of the nation's largest gasoline pipeline — hit on May 7th by a ransomware attack — announced Saturday that it has resumed "normal operations," delivering fuel to its markets, including a large swath of the East Coast.

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline had begun the process of restarting the pipeline's operations on Wednesday evening, warning it could take several days for the supply chain to return to normal.

"Since that time, we have returned the system to normal operations, delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve," Colonial Pipeline said in a tweet Saturday. Those markets include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

"All of these markets are now receiving product from our pipeline," the company said, noting how its employees across the pipeline "worked safely and tirelessly around the clock to get our lines up and running."

Gas shortages, which spread from the South, all but emptying stations in Washington, D.C., have been improving since a peak on Thursday night. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told The Associated Press on Friday that the nation is "over the hump" on gas shortages, with about 200 stations returning to service every hour.

"It's still going to work its way through the system over the next few days, but we should be back to normal fairly soon," she said.

Some stations were still out of gas in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Saturday. Driver Jermaine Barnes told CBS17 the shortage has made him more conservative with his trips.

"I'm not going places I don't need to go," he said. "I'm not visiting people. I'm watching where I'm driving. I'm doing everything different right now."

Some drivers responded angrily on Facebook Saturday to a post by ABC-13 in Asheville, North Carolina, about the pipeline resuming normal operations. Several said the majority of gas stations still did not have fuel and those that did receive deliveries were quickly selling out.

Martha Meade, manager for public and government relations at AAA Mid-Atlantic, said many gas stations in the Virginia area still did not have gas on Saturday. But she said "lines have diminished from the height of the crisis" and "panic buying has subsided."

Multiple sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Colonial Pipeline had paid the criminals who committed the cyberattack a ransom of nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency for the software decryption key required to unscramble their data network.

The ransom — 75 Bitcoin — was paid last Saturday, a day after the criminals locked up Colonial's corporate network, according to Tom Robinson, co-founder of the cryptocurrency-tracking firm Elliptic. Prior to Robinson's blog post, two people briefed on the case had confirmed the payment amount to AP.

The pipeline system delivers about 45% of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast.

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This story corrects that the ransomware attack occurred on May 7 and not last week.

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Pride 2021

This story is part of our special report titled Pride 2021. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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