A group that participated in Sunday's St. Louis Pride Parade has apologized and returned two awards it received after the public became aware it flew a Blue Lives Matter flag on its float.
The flag was ostensibly meant to support the police -- and a local lesbian officer -- but is seen by many as undermining the cause of Black Lives Matter, which calls attention to the disproportionate number of unarmed African-Americans shot and killed by police.
The Blue Lives Matter flag flew on the Balloon Brigade's float, though many -- including some parade judges -- didn't notice it, since it was mostly obscured by balloons and other flags. When people became aware, word spread on social media and many were outraged, especially since the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager shot by a white officer in 2014, happened in a St. Louis suburb.
When alerted of the reaction to the flag, Balloon Brigade co-creator Chad Carroll was immediately contrite and apologetic.
"As the co-creator/producer of the St. Louis Balloon Brigade, I wish to apologize to the members of the community that I have offended," Carroll said in a statement posted on Facebook. "I approved a flag on our float in the Pride parade that has deeper meaning to some than I previously understood. I have been educated today."
Carroll made the choice to return the two awards granted to the Balloon Brigade, but told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "we will be working hard to earn them back next year."