Police al suited up with helmets and bikes attacking stationary black people with black tape over their mouths

Gay, lesbian, trans, queer people including drag queens shut down a major street downtown, disrupt traffic in the middle of the day on Friday, June 15 to protest Vice President Mike Pence – and what do the Columbus Police do? Let them.

Scores of protestors went inside the Renaissance Hotel during Pence’s speech, not to discuss tax policy, but to heckle him, not allowing him to speak for the first four minutes of his event. What do the Columbus Police do? Quietly escort them out one by one without arrests.

A handful of black, gay, lesbian, trans, queer people stand for a moment of silence for 40 seconds in the road at the end of last year’s Pride Parade, without disrupting the flow of the floats and marchers, to protest murders of trans people nationwide and police brutality against black people. What do the Columbus Police do? Viciously attack them with bikes, throw them on the ground, mace them, brutally arrest them, and charge them with multiple misdemeanors and one with a felony.

What’s the difference?

Look at the photos of the “Big Gay Dance Party” at the Pence protests, especially the one in the Columbus Dispatch above the fold. It’s impossible to see anyone that’s not white in the photos and videos from the Pence protest.

Those arrested at 2017’s Pride parade were all black.

As a city, Columbus should be celebrated for its acceptance of people with differing sexual orientations, but we've got a long way to go when comes to acknowledging the institutional racism rampant in our policing and other aspects of our society.

The way white protestors were treated at the Pence protest is a model of proper community policing. Let us organize this Pride weekend to make sure all members of the LGBTQI community are treated equally regardless of race and sexual orientation.

The Columbus Free Press supports the Black Queer Intersectional Columbus Community Pride events, culminating today in a festival at Mayme Moore Park from 11am-7pm at 867 Mt. Vernon Ave.