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Canada Toronto police invited to march in uniform in New York City pride parade

A Toronto Police Service parking enforcement officer waves a Pride flag as they march along the parade route during the Pride Parade in Toronto, Sunday, July 3, 2016.

Mark Blinch/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto police have received an invitation to participate in uniform at the New York City Pride March next month.

The invitation, in a letter sent last Friday, comes amid a controversy over the exclusion of uniformed officers from Toronto's Pride Parade.

The Gay Officers Action League in New York requested permission for Toronto officers to join uniformed members of the NYPD Marching band and colour guard in the June 25th Pride March in New York City — the same day as Toronto's own Pride Parade.

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The controversy over police participation in the Toronto event began at last year's parade, when the group Black Lives Matter halted the parade and refused to budge until a list of demands was signed — one of them being the exclusion of uniformed officers from the parade.

The group argued that some communities, particularly black and transgendered people, do not feel safe around police officers.

The parade director at the time, Mathieu Chantelois, signed the list to get the parade moving, but later recanted and said the organization was not bound by the demands.

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said earlier this year that uniformed officers would not participate in this year's parade. (CP24)

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