SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The San Jose Police Officers Association president said Wednesday he’s in disbelief that Silicon Valley Pride organizers have asked uniformed law enforcement not to participate in this year’s parade.
“The Silicon Valley Pride leadership to bar uniformed officers from participating in the parade is the height of hypocrisy really, I mean those that made this short-sighted decision should be ashamed of themselves,” said SJPOA president Sean Pritchard. “One of the words that always comes to mind and that I’ve heard a lot is inclusion, and our department, our officers, that are a part of the LGBTQ community, they’ve worked very hard at building relationships.”
Silicon Valley Pride Chief Marketing Officer Saldy Suriben confirmed with KPIX 5 they met with San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata about their decision. Suriben said in a statement that they’re “welcoming law enforcement officials to walk in our parade in civilian clothes.”
Suriben had yet to respond to a follow-up email by KPIX 5 asking the reasoning behind the decision.
Mata released a statement of his own Wednesday saying they look forward to walking in the parade in uniform next year. However, Pritchard said “there is no justification” for the decision by Silicon Valley Pride.
In the past, the San Jose Police Department has been heavily involved in pride activities, including raising the pride flag, wearing pride patches as well as taking part in the parade.
Former Chief Eddie Garcia tweeted in 2017 a picture of him taking part in the parade, as he smiles and waves a rainbow flag.
Great time supporting Silicon Valley Pride! Very proud of the SJPD! Yes, I sat on the hood throughout. Our motto was….."Safety…LAST." pic.twitter.com/AGmr06aO0m
— Chief Eddie Garcia (Ret.) (@sjpdchief) August 27, 2017
“When this decision was made to exclude our very own LGBTQ officers who are part of that community, it’s just extremely frustrating and just really truly disappointing,” said Pritchard.
Silicon Valley Pride festivities are scheduled to take place this weekend, with the parade happening on Sunday.