New York, NY – Pride month ended with a bang for New Yorkers on June 27 in Washington Square Park. A march was organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to fighting to reclaim the legacy of Stonewall in New York City. Thousands of people marched to show support and pride for who they were, but with heavy police presence there was a lot of tension.
Usually, the Reclaim Pride Coalition hires their own security for events; however the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group aka SRG — tasked to intervene during terrorist attacks or civil unrest — still presented themselves at the event. Police have a deep history with the LGBTQ+ community and there have been debates for decades over whether they should be allowed at Pride events.
NYPD officers were banned from marching in Pride events this year due to the LGBTQ+ community not feeling comfortable with their presence at the celebration. Heritage of Pride, a non-profit organization that holds an annual 2 mile march through Chelsea, Greenwich Village and Midtown claimed cops posed a threat to the community.
According to Twitter user @Ashagony who documented another disturbance earlier in the month, this wasn’t the first time the SRG showed up to Washington Square Park. The police were kicking people out of the park, chasing them for blocks and barricading the entrance to the park. Multiple arrests were made in a violent manner. Though there is a midnight curfew for the city, police presence started around 9:15pm.
Hours before the attack, groups of people gathered in the park to enjoy the event and celebrate Pride. One couple was even caught on camera getting engaged as onlookers celebrated them.
Though witnesses at the event claimed people were just enjoying the event and celebrating Pride, at 7:15 pm cops began to mace and arrest civilians near the park. “I am currently watching NYPD charge Washington Square Park with riot gear (helmets, pepper spray, batons) … potentially to break up pride celebrations?” tweeted Meredith Cash. However, it’s still unclear what caused the initial confrontation between the cops and the people celebrating.
There are some Twitter users who are trying to shift the narrative to show how the Pride attendees left the park in disarray with garbage all over. Then there’s Twitter user @MartiGCummings who is trying to shift the focus on the awful attacks present at the event. “Stop virtue signaling & speak out about what happened.” they tweeted hoping to urge elected officials and candidates to speak up.