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Police asked not to march at Sydney Mardi Gras parade after alleged murders

Serving police officer Beau Lamarre-Condon has been charged with the murders of Jesse Baird and his partner Luke Davies.

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Organisers of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have asked police not to march at their annual parade this weekend, after the alleged murder of a couple by a serving officer.

Police on Tuesday discovered the bodies of former television reporter Jesse Baird, 26, and his flight attendant partner Luke Davies, 29, who were allegedly shot dead in Baird’s Sydney home last week.

New South Wales Police Force Senior-Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon, who dated Mr Baird until late last year, was charged on Friday with the murders of both men.

Police said Lamarre-Condon provided them with information that led them to the bodies, which were found in a rural area around 124 miles south west of Sydney.

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Participants march in the 45th Anniversary Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Oxford Street, Sydney in 2023 (AP)

The Mardi Gras’ board said LGBTQIA+ communities across Australia had been devastated by the loss of the couple, who had planned to celebrate at the parade on Saturday.

In a statement on Monday, they said: “The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board feels that having the NSW Police march this year could add to the distress within our communities, already deeply affected by recent events.

“The board has taken the decision to request that the police do not march in the 2024 Parade.”

The statement continued: “This decision was not made lightly, especially considering that many NSW Police members who participate in the Parade are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community and are navigating the impact of this tragedy alongside us.

“However, we believe that their participation at this year’s event could intensify the current feelings of sorrow and distress.”

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The New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb, second left, waves as she marches in the 45th Anniversary Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in 2023 (AP)

Police Commissioner Karen Webb, who has taken part in the annual march since 2006, said she would meet with the organisers to urge the board to reconsider its decision.

“We’re not dealing with a gay hate crime here. We’re dealing with a domestic homicide and … I’m disappointed (by) the position that Mardi Gras board has taken on this issue,” she told Nine Network television.

“This time, more than any in our society, it’s time to come together. We’re talking about inclusion, we’re talking about diversity and to exclude part of that community, I think, sends a wrong message.”

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said he hoped police would be allowed to march, but ruled out withdrawing government funding.

The Mardi Gras began in 1978 as a Sydney street protest against homosexual discrimination that was violently broken up by police.

Uniformed police officers have been marching since 1998 as a gesture of respect and support.

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