A late police officer will be honoured by his gay colleagues over a viral video in which he danced at a Pride parade.
NYPD Officer Michael Hance, who was straight , made headlines in 2015 after he was filmed dancing with a reveller at the city’s Pride parade.
In the clip, the officer – assigned to protect the parade – twerks on a Pride marcher as Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ plays.
Officer Hence, who served with the NYPD for 17 years, passed away earlier this year due to a cancer related to his service during 9/11.
The officer will be posthumously honoured by the NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League tonight .
His family will be present at the 2017 NYPD Pride Celebration at 1 Police Plaza, where the late policeman will be the recipient of the Ally Award.
GOAL president Brian Downey told the New York Daily News:
“People look at what he did and say, ‘OK it’s a (short) clip’ — but that video was viewed nearly 10 million times.”
Of the 9/11-related illness that killed the officer, Downey added:
“People are still getting sick.
“The attacks didn’t care about your sexual orientation, or race. They didn’t care if you were a cop or a firefighter. It was just pure evil.”
He said previously of the viral clip: “I was as impressed as I was happy… he isn’t a member of GOAL or the LGBT community, but we were elated to see that video.
“It represented the true spirit of the police family. That’s what 99.5% of cops are like.”
Paige Ponzeka, who recorded the video, added: “It was really special. Aaron had danced in front of a lot of cops, but they were not as responsive.
“Then we saw this officer get into it. He understood what the parade was about — about having fun and being yourself.
“The best part [was] that he was straight and was still having fun at the parade.
“That was a great message to send. A lot of cops have a tough-guy vibe, but he had the vibe that you can have fun and there was nothing wrong with that.”
In recent years there have been growing tensions between Pride and police.
Police were recently banned from marching at Pride Toronto after a dispute with ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters who claimed police presence made the event ‘anti-black’.
In the UK, transgender students voted to try and block police from attending Pride events– branding them racist, classist and transphobic.
At a national conference, trans students passed a motion that vowed to “support and organise actions against police presence at Prides” because “many trans people have faced mistreatment and violence at the hands of the police”.
It resolved “to encourage Prides to not have a police presence as part of parades, especially Pride events organised by students unions”.