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On Stonewall anniversary, the NYPD launched a brutal unprovoked attack on LGBTQ people

As Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about honoring Stonewall, the NYPD was unleashing pepper spray on LGBTQ people dancing in celebration.


The NYPD may have apologized last year for raiding the Stonewall Inn, spawning days of riots and police brutality, but they apparently haven’t decided to stop the behavior. As Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted about honoring Stonewall, the cops were unleashing pepper spray on LGBTQ people dancing in celebration.

Yesterday, as the Queer Liberation March wound down and participants celebrated in nearby Washington Square Park, police charged into the crowd, swinging batons, shoving people to the ground, and arresting a handful of participants. The officers kept their badge numbers covered.

“Using pepper spray against the Black and queer community, beating LGBTQIA+ protestors with batons and bicycles, and intimidating our right to peacefully assemble, reflects the wanton disregard that the mayor, along with the NYPD, have for the lives and safety all Black and queer New Yorkers,” organizers told BuzzFeed News.

“It was very peaceful, very chill. I didn’t see much police presence. Then I saw 20 cops on bikes and a few cop cars speed up right away, so I walked a little quicker,” Eliel Cruz told the outlet. “I walked by five or six people on the ground who were pepper sprayed and were washing their eyes.”


NPYD says they were trying to arrest two people for graffiti when a crowd gathered and starte chanting, “Let them go!”

“The man who was arrested was crying and saying he was hurting and the cops were dragging him by his hands so his weight was against his shoulders pulling [on] the sockets,” volunteer Pippa Bianco told Gothamist, saying erupted when two officers in white shirts “sprinted into the crowd and started shoving us.” Another group of cops on motorcycles started pushing their vehicles through the crowd, striking protesters.


“I was leaving Washington square — there was a beautiful rally centering around Black trans women. As we were leaving, we noticed a commotion directly in front of us and realized it was the police,” out city council candidate Marti Gould Cummings said.

“People were chanting ‘don’t shoot’ and many took a knee,” the drag queen candidate added. “The police escalated and used pepper spray and batons.”


“I wish that I could say what I saw today was shocking, but how could I reasonably expect anything else from the NYPD?” said Jake Tolan, one of the March organizers, told LGBTQ Nation in an emailed statement.


“51 years after the Stonewall Rebellion, the NYPD is still responding to peaceful, powerful, righteous queer joy with pepper spray, batons, and handcuffs. Thank you, Commissioner Shea and the entire NYPD, for continuing to show us why you should be abolished.”

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It will take more than apologies to ease the tension between LGBTQ people & the police


LGBTQ people nationwide are still suffering abuse at the hands of police. While NYPD's apology 50 years after the fact is nice, what about the problems plaguing us today?

n the cusp of commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall Inn riots, which many historians cite as a spark for the modern movement for LGBTQ equality, New York police commissioner James P. O’Neill offered a long overdue apology on behalf of the force.


“I think it would be irresponsible to go through World Pride month and not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” O’Neill said. “I do know what happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple. The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize.”

He continued by asserting: “I vow to the LGBTQ. community that this would never happen in the NYPD in 2019. We have, and we do, embrace all New Yorkers.”


While these statements serve as an appropriate first step, they certainly do not go nearly far enough.


Still today – “in 2019” – New York police incarcerate trans women in men’s jails and prisons, aided by Trump administration policies striking down an Obama-era guideline that recommended “housing by gender identity when appropriate.”


The National Center for Transgender Equality found that 16% of transgender adults (including 21% of transwomen) have been incarcerated in prison or jail at some point in their lives. Nearly half (47%) of black transgender women have been incarcerated.


These high rates are associated with disproportionate poverty, homelessness, societal and workplace discrimination, involvement in street economies, and, sometimes, bias from law enforcement. They are also at higher risk for harassment, abuse, and violence in juvenile detention facilities, jails, and prisons.


“Corrections” officials routinely deny transgender people transition-related medical care, and they often suffer prolonged sentences of isolation.

Where are the police department’s apologies and change to humane treatment?


Comstock Laws

Congress passed the Comstock Laws in 1873 that criminalized usage of the U.S. Postal Service to send any materials it considered “obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious” (which included most material with homosexual or non-gender-traditional themes), all contraceptives and birth control information, sex education, “abortifacients” (drugs used to abort a pregnancy), sex toys, anatomy books, personal letters with sexual content or information, and any letters with information from the other categories.

The laws were named to “honor” Anthony Comstock, Former U.S. Postal Inspector, Member of the National Purity Party (an eugenics organization), and Founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

The New York police department was one that enforced these draconian laws. Where is the department’s apology?


Ariston Bathhouse Raid

One of the first New York City anti-gay police raids occurred on February 21, 1903 at the Ariston Bathhouse frequented by homosexual and bisexual men. Police detained 60 men and arrested 14.


Where is the department’s apology?


New York State Liquor Authority

The New York State Liquor Authority issued a policy in 1930 banning the serving of liquor to homosexuals in any licensed bar in New York State. Penalties included revocation of the bar’s operating license.


The courts confirmed the policy in the 1940s. The mere presence of homosexuals in a bar constituted “disorder.”