Aurora Pride files lawsuit against city over parade issues newstrendslive

Aurora Pride, which organizes the annual Pride Parade in the city, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging the city ordinance that they said led to the event’s permit being revoked last summer before the parade was eventually held.

The lawsuit seeks, among other things, an injunction preventing the city of Aurora from using the Special Events Ordinance that was applied to Aurora Pride, and an assurance that what happened in 2022 will not be repeated in the future, according to a news release from the American Civil Liberties Union.

City spokesman Clayton Muhammad said Wednesday the city doesn’t have a comment on the
pending litigation at this time.

The suit also names Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross and Aurora Events Coordinator Mike Nelson.

The parade was scheduled for Sunday, June 12, but on the Wednesday before, the city revoked the special event permit for the Aurora Pride group to hold the parade. City officials said they were unable to get enough Aurora police officers to work overtime or extra-duty shifts to provide adequate security for the event.

Earlier in the month, Aurora Pride had requested that if police officers wanted to march in the Pride Parade, they do so not in full uniform, particularly not with weapons. They said police could wear a “soft uniform” identifying them as police officers, but not a full uniform with weaponry and handcuffs.

This was enough to cause some city officials, including Mayor Richard Irvin, to announce they would not participate in the parade and pull the city’s float.

Attorneys for Aurora Pride took the city to court to appeal the revocation of the parade license, but by Thursday afternoon the week of the parade, a judge ruled against Aurora Pride’s appeal.

In response, the ACLU of Illinois planned to file a federal lawsuit against the city, in an attempt to keep the parade as scheduled. But about 5:30 p.m. that Thursday, the city announced it had reinstated Aurora Pride’s permit for the parade.

The change came after the city offered a triple-time financial incentive to its police officers to take overtime to provide security for the parade.

According to the release from the ACLU, this led to a doubling of the costs of policing the parade, leaving Aurora Pride with nearly $22,000 in charges they did not anticipate.

“Our aim was to create a message of community support and peace for LGBTQ+ people in Aurora,” said Gwyn Ciesla, president of Aurora Pride, in the release. “That meant not including armed, uniformed police officers. When we refused to back down on this point to pressure from politicians, Aurora city officials threatened and revoked our permit. When we still would not relent, they claimed to ‘fix’ the problem they created, allowing the parade to move forward. But they expected Aurora Pride to foot the bill. And this was all made possible by this flawed ordinance.”

Aurora city staff has been revamping the Special Events Ordinance, and the City Council is in the midst of going over those changes. As is stands now, the council is due to vote on the new ordinance next week. It is unclear if the changes will address the concerns of Aurora Pride.

Pride officials argue the current ordinance lacks clear, definite and content-neutral standards for permitting decisions.

“The Aurora ordinance is unconstitutional,” said Rebecca Glenberg, senior supervising attorney at the ACLU of Illinois, one of the lawyers representing Aurora Pride. “We have repeatedly pointed out to Aurora officials that our constitution does not give the mayor or the police a veto over whether or not a parade or demonstration goes forward simply because they do not like the message of the organizers.”

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