School employee threatens violence against Pride parade, claims ‘all gays should be killed’
Police are investigating a homophobic threat made to a Pride event on Facebook.
The Columbus Pride Parade and Festival 2017 is set to take place this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, with the parade taking place through the city on Saturday.
Ahead of the event, organisers received a homophobic threat from a Facebook user under the name of Chris Dodds, referencing the terror attack on the Boston marathon.
The message said: “I hope this event turns out like the Boston Marathon a few year’s [sic] back. All fag’s should be killed or at least relocated.”
The poster is understood to be an employee at Columbus City Schools.
The school board said: “Columbus City Schools values and celebrates its diversity. Please know that we are working with authorities to address this matter and his actions. We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.
“Our District will be participating in the Pride Parade Saturday with more than 400 teachers, staff, students, families, friends and allies. We hope to see you there as well.”
Columbus Police told NBC4i that they are investigating the post, and have informed Homeland Security.
There will already be a boosted police presence at the Pride event.
Deputy Chief Michael Woods of the Columbus Police Department said: “It’s one of our larger events, so we pay attention to it, but honestly in the last several years we’re paying attention to every event of this nature.”
“With the Pulse nightclub attack last year it’s just again one of those things that we’re paying attention to… that’s why the call for extra resources is here.
“We look at the vehicles that have been used and we look at the attacks so that’s why we have that combination, that security package, of plain clothes, uniform, bicycles, mounted unit, some of our specialty units.”
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In lieu of a grand marshall, this year’s Columbus Pride parade will be led by LGBTQ refugees.
Stonewall Columbus exec Karla Rothan told the Columbus Dispatch: “The current administration is putting a lot of restrictions on new Americans, and lately, we’re finding it difficult to get LGBTQ Muslims in our center.
“We’re doing this to show that we serve all of the LGBTQ community, and we are denying the current political climate.”
It’s not the only Pride event to take on a more political message this year.
New York City’s Pride parade will give a bigger emphasis to protest this year, with activists taking a focus ahead of corporate sponsors.
LA Pride has announced it would be a “resistance”, in response to attacks on transgender and LGB rights from the Trump administration.