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autumncoon

jarrellwoods in ra_activists

Deputy Inspector Pine has died at 91

(excerpts from article)
Pine, who later apologised for his role in the raid, was commander of the New York Police Department's vice squad for lower Manhattan when he led eight officers into the Stonewall Inn, an illegal club frequented by cross-dressers, just after midnight on June 28, 1969.

The ostensible reason for the raid was to crack down on prostitution and other organised-crime activities, but it was common at the time for the police to raid gay bars and arrest transvestites and harass customers.

The club was owned by members of the Mafia, and Pine later said he conducted the raid (a policeman is pictured escorting two cross-dressers from the club on that fateful night) on orders from superiors.

About 200 people were inside. Ordered to line up and show identification, some refused. Several transvestites refused to submit to anatomical inspections.

Word of the raid filtered into the street, and soon hundreds of protesters gathered outside, shouting "gay power" and calling the police "pigs". The turning point came when a lesbian fought with officers as she was pushed into a patrol car. The crowd rushed the officers, who retreated into the club. Several people ripped out a parking meter and used it as a battering ram; others tried to set fire to the club. It took police reinforcements 90 minutes to clear the street.

It was the start of several nights of rioting, during which the police used force to disperse crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Fewer than three dozen protesters were arrested, but hundreds were detained and released.

...

Police regularly raided gay clubs for two reasons, he said. First, he insisted, many clubs were controlled by organised crime; second, arresting gay people was a way for officers to improve their arrest numbers. "They were easy arrests," he said. "They never gave you any trouble" - at least until that night.

...

"He once told me," author Carter said, "if what I did helped gay people, then I'm glad."

the link

Comments

May God receive his soul through Heaven's gates.

I'd heard about the Stonewall riots, but never understood the whole story. At least this little part helps me learn just a bit more about the history of the fight for equality.

-Vaperfox