Toronto police to sit out Pride Parade

Toronto Police chief Mark Saunders says the service will sit out this year's Pride Parade.

Black Lives Matter held up last year's Pride Parade for 30 minutes until a list of demands, including the exclusion of police, was signed by Pride officials.

"We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided," Saunders writes in a statement released Friday. "To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride Parade.

"I want to make it very clear that this will have no impact on our ongoing outreach to LGBTQ communities. We will continue to develop respectful relationships and build new ones, focusing on those who feel marginalized, with the trans and racialized communities. I will sit down with any group who feels marginalized, who comes to the table with ideas on how to make things better."

Police will still hold its Pride reception.

Mayor John Tory has released a statement saying he respects the chief's decision.

"I am disappointed and frustrated with the current situation," Tory writes. "No one should feel excluded from Pride and no group should have to decide it is better if they just don't take part. This current situation is not good for a city as inclusive as Toronto. We know that diversity strengthens us as a city and pushing people apart weakens us as a city."

Tory goes on to says that he hopes the parties involved can find a way to resolve the issue.

Mike McCormack, President of the Toronto Police Association tells Jerry Agar this is political pandering that insults his members.

This year's Pride Parade goes June 25

More to come...