Sergeant Accused Of Trying To Derail Police Participation In Ft. Lauderdale Pride

Sgt. Hugo Fontalvo pushed his religious beliefs "on everyone in the mounted unit, regardless of whether it was wanted or not.”

A Fort Lauderdale police sergeant has been accused of trying to prevent his department from participating in the city’s annual Pride parade.

Hugo Fontalvo claimed he was concerned about security when he suggested the mounted police not be involved in last year’s celebration in Wilton Manor. But an internal investigation found his “personal beliefs were pushed on everyone in the mounted unit, regardless of whether it was wanted or not.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- JUNE 28: Sacramento Police Officer Jeff Kuhlmann, left, marches with his boyfriend, Los Angeles Police Officer David Ayala, right, in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, June 28, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The 2015 pride parade comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

When he couldn’t stop his unit from participating, South Florida Gay News reports, Fontalvo insisted having an officer on horseback carry a Pride flag was a safety issue.

Interestingly, Fontalvo—who wasn’t scheduled to work the parade—saw no issue with officers carrying the Florida flag and the U.S. flag while on horseback.

“Sergeant Fontalvo’s irrational decision and poor judgement embarrassed members of his unit and portrayed the agency in a negative light,” the report claimed. “In the hours leading up to the parade, Sergeant Fontalvo became increasingly irritated and upset over the decision to carry the Pride flag,” the report reads. “The evidence clearly demonstrated his relentless drive to keep ‘his’ Mounted Unit from participating in the parade.”

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Cleveland Mounted Police keep watch near Progressive Field before the start of game 7 of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. This marks the 37th Game 7 in World Series history. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)
Justin Merriman/Getty Images

After successfully blocking his officers from carrying the Pride flag, Fontalvo exclaimed, “See. This is Jesus. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. This is Jesus.”

It was also revealed Fontalvo held prayer sessions throughout the day. Officers reported they were afraid to express concern about “the public display of religious rhetoric” for fear of being transferred.

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