When the New York Police Department unveiled its new Pride-themed vehicle, web commenters quickly pointed out that its colorful design also included a phrase that could be interpreted as an anti-police slogan.
Below the vehicle’s wavy rainbow trim are the words, “Happy Pride Month” followed by “All Colors Are Beautiful.” Numerous Twitter users noted that the acronym for the second phrase, ACAB, is the same as for a phrase that became prominent during the racial justice and police reform protests of 2020: “All Cops Are Bast**ds.”
“Someone needs to shoot this thing!!”
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Others pointed out that the NYPD “kicked off Pride month” by arresting Qween Jean, a transgender activist who organized a May 31 rally protesting anti-trans laws and violence. Activist Adam Eli shared footage of Jean’s arrest and said that the NYPD officers at the event “easily outnumbered” the 60 estimated attendees.
“There is no question that the police targeted Qween and that this was their plan for the night,” Eli wrote on Instagram. “As soon as Qween was arrested the police presence at least halved.”
The NYPD’s LGBTQ Outreach Unit participates in community events, including “Conversation + Cops” meetups, youth workshops, and assisting survivors of possible bias incidents, its website states. The department said it has also partnered with the Gay Officers Action League of New York to protect gay and lesbian officers from workplace discrimination.
Some LGBTQ+ community members have objected to police presence at Pride events, especially since the NYPD and the larger judicial system have long subjected queer people to violence and harassment.
In 2021, the mayor repealed the “Walking While Trans” statute that led to the NYPD’s arrest of countless trans people for allegedly “loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.” The NYPD has required hundreds of thousands in taxpayer funds to settle cases where their vice squad wrongly arrested gay men. In 2013, a study found that the NYPD’s now-repealed “stop and frisk” practice disproportionately targeted LGBTQ+ people.
But the recent rise in violent threats against LGBTQ+ events has compelled Pride organizers to increase security at their events, a precaution which can often involve police forces.