A veterans organization is calling out a “sickening” double standard, telling “Fox & Friends” on Monday, that legal action may be forthcoming after New York City denied a permit for a Memorial Day parade.
James Haynes III, CEO of United Staten Island Veterans Organization Inc., and his attorney Brendan Lantry pointed out that last week’s Cannabis Parade got the green light from the city.
Veterans were set to be given special honors in Staten Island’s 102nd annual Memorial Day Parade this year to mark the Gulf War’s 30th anniversary, until the city decided to deny permits for the parade, The New York Post reported.
Haynes told host Brian Kilmeade on Monday that he was shocked that the city did not grant permits for the Memorial Day Parade, but allowed the Cannabis Parade to carry on.
Following the same procedure they use every year in keeping with the city’s official rules, The United Staten Island Veterans Organization, which is the association of 16 local veteran groups that has sponsored the annual march for decades, filed a request for a parade permit with the New York City Police Department in February, The Post reported. About one week later, the department reportedly denied the request, citing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s emergency executive order restricting public events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for De Blasio did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Lantry stressed that what the city is doing to veterans is “disturbing.”
“There is a clear double standard being applied,” he said. “We are just asking the city not to play politics with our veterans.”
He noted that “Memorial Day is three weeks away and so if they don’t issue a permit, if they don’t correct course here, we’re going to be bringing in action in Supreme Court, New York state, here in Richmond County in Staten Island, New York to compel them to issue a permit.”
Haynes noted that the parade can carry on while adhering to safety precautions amid the pandemic, including social distancing.
“People can wear masks and still be safe,” he said. “They were safe last year.”
Lantry pointed out that “the weekend before last, this marijuana parade took over blocks of Park Avenue and Broadway” as well as “numerous other blocks of Manhattan” and police barricades as well as police personnel were on the ground.
“We’re just asking for the same treatment,” he said.
‘The same process that was put in place last week for the cannabis parade … should be put in place at least for our veterans,” Lantry added.
He then explained his legal argument saying according to a procedure in New York, “the city or state can’t do anything that creates a double standard.”
“We believe that they engaged in an arbitrary decision to deny the veterans their parade,” Lantry said. “There is also First Amendment concerns here.”
“They [New York City officials] say you can do a protest, but you can’t do a parade,” he added. “So there are certainly legal grounds to compel the city to issue this permit.”
Speaking on “Fox & Friends First” earlier on Monday United Staten Island Veterans organization member Lee Covino said he is hoping the Memorial Day Parade will be allowed to take place so that all those who lost their lives during military service can be remembered.
He said holding the parade is important “especially for the kids.”
Covino pointed out that veterans are “walking history.”
“Every veteran has a different piece of history they can tell you, from the Pearl Harbor guys, who are getting very old at this point, to people that just got back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he explained. “So we want those kids to see real-life history, from their borough Staten Island marching down Forest Avenue.”