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NYPD Finally Apologizes for Stonewall Inn Riots 50 Years Later

NYPD Finally Apologizes for Stonewall Inn Riots 50 Years Later

NYPD Finally Apologizes for Stonewall Inn Riots 50 Years Later

An apology long overdue.

rachelkiley

Fifty years late is better than never.

On Thursday, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill took a step towards reconciliation between the NYC police and the NYC LGBTQ community, apologizing, at last, for the police department’s actions during the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

“I think it would be irresponsible of me as we go through World Pride month not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn, at June of 1969,” he said. “While I’m certainly not going to stand up here and pretend to be an expert on what happened at Stonewall, 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.”

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots is coming up on June 28th of this year. It has long been considered the event that kicked off the gay rights movement as we’ve come to know it, born out of desperation and a violent clash between New York’s LGBTQ community and the NYPD.

While the NYPD has previously vaguely acknowledged that the actions of the department at the time were regrettable, no formal apology had ever been issued, despite numerous requests from LGBTQ groups and officials.

“The NYPD, as an institution, needed to take responsibility for what happened at Stonewall,” said James Fallarino, a spokesman for NYC Pride. “This isn’t going to undo the decades of violence and discrimination that our community has experienced at the hands of the police, but it’s a good first start.”

Other members of the LGBTQ are cautious of the apology, waiting for the NYPD to follow through with actions.

“A lot more action has to be done to undo the history of discrimination and current NYPD practices,” said lawyer Tina Luongo.

The current co-owner of the Stonewall Inn, Stacy Lentz, added: “The battle that was started here is not over. But today was about visibility, and visibility saves lives.”

But Commissioner O’Neill was firm with his words of regret for the way the community was treated at Stonewall.

“I vow to the LGBTQ community that this would never happen in the NYPD in 2019,” he said. “We have, and we do, embrace all New Yorkers.”

Hopefully that's the truth.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.