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Temporary injunction for Ill. pride parade prevents group from paying LEOs extra to work

Last year, 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


Mike Mantucca / The Beacon-News

By Megan Jones
Chicago Tribune

AURORA, Ill. — Aurora Pride is aiming to host its fourth annual Pride Parade in June after a federal judge Thursday granted a preliminary injunction in connection with a lawsuit filed by the Pride group against the city.

Aurora Pride filed a federal lawsuit in January against the city and its special events ordinance, arguing the ordinance is unconstitutional and violated its first amendment rights. U.S. District Court Judge Martha Pacold on Thursday granted the preliminary injunction sought by the group, preventing the city from applying certain provisions of the ordinance.

“Everyone here was on pins and needles to get this decision so the planning could move forward for the parade,” ACLU of Illinois spokesperson Ed Yohnka said concerning the preliminary injunction. “It’s wonderful to get this in.”

Immediate attempts to reach city officials for comment were unsuccessful.

Aurora Pride applied for a permit for the 2023 parade in January, but it has yet to be approved by the city. ACLU of Illinois attorney Rebecca Glenberg, one of the lawyers representing Aurora Pride, said with this ruling, they expect the city to issue a permit soon.

Aurora Pride’s lawsuit stems from issues concerning last year’s Pride Parade. The parade was scheduled for Sunday, June 12, but on the Wednesday before, the city revoked the special event permit for the group to host the event.

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 parade. The city has said it can’t compel off-duty employees to work security at special events.

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.

Attorneys for Aurora Pride attended a hearing with the city to appeal the revocation of the parade license, but on Thursday afternoon, just three days before the parade was scheduled to be held, a judge ruled against the group’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 around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the city announced it had reinstated the permit for the parade.

The city offered a triple-time financial incentive to its police officers to take overtime to provide security for the parade. This lead to a doubling of the costs to police the parade, leaving Aurora Pride with a $40,427 bill after they originally estimated having to spend $21,606 on security, according to the ACLU.

If it is necessary to pay officers extra to work in this year’s planned parade, the temporary injunction blocks Aurora Pride from having to pay for it, Glenberg said. There is also a limitation on the cost they can bill Aurora Pride for the hourly work of police, she said.

ACLU officials said Friday that because of the preliminary injunction portions of the city’s special events ordinance can’t be enforced because “it allowed individual police officers the discretion to decide about the viability, scope and cost of protected speech in the community.”

“The court clearly understood that our constitution does not allow police officers veto power over a parade or demonstration,” Glenberg said.

The injunction also says if enough officers do not sign up voluntarily to provide security, that cannot be the grounds for revoking Aurora Pride’s parade permit or changing the event’s scope, Glenberg said.

“That’s something the city will have to address and cannot penalize Aurora Pride for,” Glenberg said. “There are a number of ways they could address the situation and the court was careful to not tell them what they had to do.”

During a hearing in March, attorneys for the city asked Pride leaders if they would instead consider hosting a stationary event at Wilder Park this year instead of a parade, a proposal Pride officials said they did not support.

City attorneys said in March that only four police officers had signed up to work security at this year’s event up to that point. It is unclear how many officers have currently signed up.

The temporary injunction is just the first step in the federal lawsuit and the court still needs to decide whether to grant a permanent injunction on the provisions moving forward and decide if Aurora Pride is entitled to damages for what occurred in 2022, Glenberg said.

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