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Pride Organizers Reconsider Earlier Decision, Invite Police To March In Parade

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Twin Cities Pride organizers are walking back their decision to limit police presence at Sunday's parade after meeting with law enforcement Thursday.

Friday, Twin Cities Pride announced on its Facebook page that the decision to allow only one unmarked squad car to lead the parade is unchanged, but law enforcement members are invited to march in the parade

"We received input from impacted parties and through this input we recognize this decision has made members of the law enforcement community feel excluded, which is contrary to our mission to foster inclusion," the post read. "Our intent is and was to respect the pain that the people of color and transgender communities have experienced as of late, but our original approach fell short of our mission."

The recent verdict in the Philando Castile case was the catalyst for Pride organizers to alter the policy on law enforcement earlier in the week. On Facebook, the group announced they will forgo police participation to respect the pain the community is feeling right now.

In response, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who is openly gay, issued a strongly worded letter to the executive director of the festival, Dot Belstler, on Thursday. That letter prompted the meeting between Harteau and Pride organizers that ultimately prompted the change in policy.

In it, Harteau wrote she wanted to take time to reflect on the decision before responding, but that she was "beyond disappointed" that Belstler did not reach out to her to discuss it.

Harteau continued saying that she recognizes that minorities have historically had a hard relationship with law enforcement but believes it is something she and her force are working hard to change.

She also said, that despite the decision, she assures that the officers assigned to work the parade will do all they can to make it safe for everyone involved and watching.

Pride organizers met with Harteau after reading her letter, prompting the change of policy Friday.

After Pride invited officers Friday, Harteau released a video thanking the group and expressing her support for the event.

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