Aurora mayor pulls out of city Pride parade over police uniforms

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Aurora, Illinois

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin (R) has withdrawn himself and the city’s float from the Pride parade over police wearing uniforms in the parade.

Last week, Aurora Pride asked the Aurora Police Department to have service weapons, uniform, or official vehicles while taking part in the parade. They were, however, welcome to march in the parade with t-shirts, banners and polo shirts. Aurora Pride referred to it as a “soft uniform.”

On Tuesday, the Daily Herald reported that Irvin would no longer be marching in the parade and had withdrawn the city’s float from the parade. He had criticized Aurora Pride for saying no police uniforms marching in the parade.

Irvin is also running for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor. He’s been under fire from fellow Republicans for not being tough enough on crime or LGBTQ issues.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the mayor’s office had not responded to a message sent on Tuesday evening asking about the issue.

“We’re disappointed that law enforcement and now city government, have chosen not to participate,” said Gwyn Ciesla, Aurora Pride president.

Aurora Pride made the decision to bar police uniforms marching in the parade because of community/police tensions in the wake of the George Floyd uprising two years ago. In both the original announcement and in an open letter responding to Irvin, the organization have said that police are welcome to march in the parade, just not in full uniform.

After Irvin criticized the uniform decision and he expected a response by Thursday evening, the ACLU of Illinois warned him of retaliating against Aurora Pride for their decision.

In a letter to Irvin, ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca K. Glenberg said that Aurora Pride has the First Amendment right to control the message of its parade, which includes the composition and
appearance of marchers, And that the city was barred from retaliating for the parade deciding not to have police uniforms. The city does have the right to criticize the decision.

“Given the language of your May 25 letter and your public reference to an ‘action plan,’ however, it bears repeating that such speech may not cross over into coercion or retaliation,” Glenberg said.

As of Wednesday evening, there had been no news of further action from the city of Aurora.

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