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Understaffed Burlington police unable to respond to Pride March assault on gay man by trans activist

Burlington police did not respond Sunday to reports of an assault by trans activists on a gay leader and retired cop at the Pride March Sunday because there was no “immediate life-safety component,” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said Tuesday.

Longtime gay rights activist, retired police officer, and Vermont resident Fred Sargeant was shoved by trans activists, who also poured coffee on him and tried to seize his sign. Sergeant is among the gay rights activists who insist that gender is a physical reality and not a question of identity.

Three days after the assault, no Vermont media has covered it (except Vermont Daily Chronicle, yesterday). However, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Daily Mail in England published a report last night.

Police determined from the call that the incident didn’t merit immediate response under the response plan implemented in response to police defunding and shortstaffing. “This call was stacked as part of the Priority Response Plan,” Murad said.

“We are looking into this incident,” Police Chief Jon Murad said in an email to Vermont Daily Chronicle yesterday. “On Sunday 9/18/22 at 1301 hours, during the PRIDE March, we received a report categorized as a “Disturbance,” in which a caller advised that a male at Church St and Bank St was allegedly carrying an offensive sign and was upsetting people in the parade.

“The caller stated that someone dumped coffee on the person with the sign. At 1305 hours, a second caller alleged that the man with the sign elbowed her friend, and her friend wanted to speak with police. With no immediate life-safety component, this call was stacked as part of the Priority Response Plan.

“On Sunday 9/18/22 at 1553 hours, more than two hours after the PRIDE March ended, we received a report from a nurse at the UVMMC Emergency Dept who stated that a patient advised that he had been assaulted at the parade and wanted to make a report. As it was an incident in the past, and the Priority Response Plan was in effect, response was delayed. An officer contacted the hospital at approximately 1830 hours and learned that the man was no longer at the hospital and the phone number on file was not valid.

“If additional information becomes available, particularly if complainants come forward, the BPD will take appropriate next steps.”

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