This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, when members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) violently raided the iconic gay bar on the evening of June 28, 1969, sparking the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Fifty years later, the NYPD has finally apologized.
“It would be irresponsible of me to go through #WorldPride2019 and not speak of Stonewall in June 1969,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill tweeted yesterday (June 6).
Speaking at a press conference at NYPD headquarters, O’Neill said that it’s important to assume ownership for past actions. “The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive and, for that, I apologize,” he said. Watch the commissioner’s statement:
It would be irresponsible of me to go through #WorldPride2019 & not speak of Stonewall in June 1969. What happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain & simple. The actions & the laws were discriminatory & oppressive &, for that, I apologize. pic.twitter.com/HMLfVpTY7K
— Commissioner O’Neill (@NYPDONeill) June 6, 2019
While some commended O’Neill for the apology, many are not interested. “We are not impressed by Commissioner O’Neill’s empty apology, given under pressure during Pride Month,” Reclaim Pride Coalition, the organization behind the upcoming (June 30) Queer Liberation March in New York City, wrote in a statement. “Where has this apology been for the last 50 years?”
“Commissioner O’Neill had the nerve to say that this would never happen in 2019 completely ignoring that the NYPD continues to be an oppressive force in our communities even on the day of Pride,” the group continued. “The NYPD is still arresting trans kids of color for walking down the street, and arrested a trans woman in the Bronx who was walking home from work, holding her in custody for 24 hours, in handcuffs! The NYPD has spent decades entrapping gay men. And the NYPD continues to strike fear in communities of color and other marginalized communities.”
The Coalition wants a “comprehensive NYPD apology including for their ongoing brutality against marginalized groups and for a systemic change in their operations.”