Toronto police have withdrawn their application to march in uniform in this summer’s Pride parade, according to Chief Mark Saunders.
The force’s decision to make a bid last month to rejoin the parade after being banned last year stirred controversy in the city’s LGBT community.
Late Monday night, Pride Toronto and five other organizations co-signed a letter calling for police to abandon the effort, citing the strained relationship between the LGBT community and Canada’s largest police force.
“On multiple recent occasions, I have expressed my sincere commitment to the cause of strengthening and renewing the relationship between the Toronto Police Service and our city’s LGBTQ2S community,” Saunders said in a statement.
“That being said, I am conscious of the need to avoid any setback that might undermine the principle objective of coming together and restoring confidence … My hope is that this move will be received as a concrete example of the fact that I am listening closely to the community’s concerns and I am committed thoroughly to building a better, stronger relationship between us.”
Toronto police were banned from last year’s event after activists with Black Lives Matter disrupted the 2016 parade, in part demanding that uniformed officers no longer participate.
Since late last summer, Pride Toronto has been in closed-door talks with police brass in an effort to reach a compromise and help improve the relationship between officers and the LGBT community.
In an interview with CBC’s Metro Morning earlier Tuesday, Pride Toronto executive director Olivia Nuamah said the investigation into alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur has widened the schism between LGBT residents and police.