StarObserver: Activists angered by Mardi Gras board’s backflip decision

The recent charges laid on Senior Constable Beau Lamarre for the murders of Jesse Baird and Luke Davies had previously prompted the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board to request the NSW Police to not march in the parade. 

Last Wednesday this decision was altered, allowing police to march out of uniform in Mardi Gras

This change has angered activists who feel it is a betrayal to the community and who claim the decision was made because of pressure from the police. 

Pride in Protest have said they are “horrified and outraged” at the board’s new decision, "Whether in uniform or not, police participation in the Mardi Gras parade is unacceptable". 

The Greens similarly called for the police force to exclude itself “as a sign of respect, deference, and commitment to change.”

Liz Atkins, Greens Councillor has said the decision to backflip was  “really disappointing” and has outlined “NSW Police are still marching as an institution, even if they’re not in uniform, LGBTQI cops are part of the community like the rest of us. But take part with their community, not as part of the institution of NSW Police.”

The announcement of an investigation into firearm access by the NSW Police has prompted calls for the investigation to be completely independent.

The current system for investigating NSW Police officer misconduct is inadequate, said Lydia Shelly, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, in an open letter to the Premier, Attorney General, Police Minister and Police Commissioner.

“Most investigations are by NSW Police themselves,” she wrote. “How can the community have confidence in NSW Police when they investigate themselves?”

“Enough is enough,” she said. “Our organisations call on the government to immediately launch an independent inquiry into police use of force and weapons.”

“This is urgent. No one should die at the hands of NSW Police Officers, whether on or off-duty.”

The letter is a united call from NSWCCL with the First Mardi Gras Inc., Redfern Legal Centre, National Justice Project, Inner City Legal Centre, Human Rights Law Centre and Community Legal Centres NSW.

Read the full article