NYC Police Commissioner Officially Apologizes For Stonewall Riots

The producers of WorldPride 2019 | Stonewall 50 have publicly asked for the New York City Police Department to officially apologize for the violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.
The historic Stonewall Inn (photo by annulla is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Is it ever too late to apologize?

The producers of WorldPride 2019 | Stonewall 50 have publicly asked for the New York City Police Department to officially apologize for the violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.

The brutal raids in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, led to what has become known as the Stonewall Uprising as drag queens, gays, lesbians, and transgender people fought back leading to more protests against police brutality. The event is credited for giving birth to the modern-day LGBTQ movement.

The Executive Board of Heritage Pride, Inc., the organization responsible for producing over 25 events in New York City celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, issued a statement which read, in part:

“Last night, we voted unanimously to demand that the NYPD formally apologize to the LGBTQIA+ community for the violent police raid that triggered the Stonewall Uprising. We offer our stage at the Stonewall 50 Commemoration Rally on Friday, June 28, 2019 for Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill to do so on behalf of the Department.”

The statement acknowledged “significant strides” made by the NYPD under Commissioner O’Neill, but asks the Department to “take responsibility for the decades of police violence committed against” the LGBTQ community in New York City.

The executive board added that the “small, albeit meaningful step” of an apology would demonstrate “what is possible for the future of our community and our movement.”

“Commissioner O’Neill and the NYPD, the eyes of the world are on our city, and we call upon you to show what real change can look like,” the board wrote in closing. “The platform is yours on June 28th.”

In an interview with radio station 1010WINS, openly gay City Council Speaker Corey Johnson also called for an apology.

“The NYPD in the past has apologized for other incidents that have occurred, and so I think the NYPD apologizing on this would be a very, very good thing, and it’s something they should do,” explained Johnson.

“I would love for it happen this month, and I will bring it up to the police commissioner,” Johnson continued. “Because I think it would be an important step toward further healing and reconciliation and recognizing what happened in that crucial moment, and not just in American history, but New York history in June of 1969.”

When reached for comment regarding an apology to the LGBTQ community, Commissioner O’Neill told 1010WINS, “The NYPD of today is much different than the department of 50 years ago, and a number of important changes have been implemented that bring the police and all the communities we serve closer together.”

With an estimated three million people expected to travel from around the world to New York City for the WorldPride events, O’Neill said, “We are looking forward to the many events surrounding this year’s milestone anniversary, and to working with all attendees to ensure that everyone not only is safe, but feels safe, too.”

This isn’t the first time the idea of an apology from the NYPD has been floated.

Back in June 2017, at an event hosted by the NYC Bar Association, an attendee in the audience asked O’Neill if he would “apologize for the discrimination and violence” that occurred at the historic raid.

“I think that’s been addressed already,” replied O’Neill. “We’re moving forward.”

But this morning, Eric Bottcher, chief of staff for Speaker Johnson, tweeted that O’Neill formally apologized to the LGBTQ community at the first ever NYPD LGBTQ Pride Month Community Safety Briefing this morning.

“I’m certainly not going to be an expert of what happened at Stonewall,” O’Neill told the press. “The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong … and for that I apologize.”

From The New York Times:

“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,” Mr. O’Neill said.

“What happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong, plain and simple,” he added.

“The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize.”

News Round-Up: May 29, 2018

Some news items you might have missed this holiday weekend:

• InstaHunk Ace Cee (above) shares wisdom for the day: “Save water, shower together…”

• Check out the Australian hunk who just won Mr. Gay World 2018. Jordan Bruno hopes to use his title to address issues within the LGBTQ community like femme shaming, body issues, and lesbian discrimination at pride festivals.

• New York Police Department officers are in hot water over posing with a male stripper in just a G-string and boots.

• Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, considered the most vulnerable of Dem senators up for re-election this fall, leads his GOP opponent by 12 points in a new poll.

• A gay high school valedictorian, barred from giving his graduation speech because he used the phrase “the young people will win,” gave his speech anyway via a bullhorn. His school officials claimed the phrase, coined by the high school students in Parkland, Florida, was “too confrontational.”

• With Pride Month just days away, learn how the word “gay” shifted in meaning from “happy” to “homosexual from the folks at Origin of Everything:

NYPD Says No To Donald Trump “Photo Op” In Wake Of Dallas Police Deaths

The New York Police Department said “no” to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump regarding a request to speak at an NYPD roll call on Friday in light of the deaths of five Dallas police officers Thursday night.

According to the New York Daily News, Trump’s campaign reached out to the NYPD through his head of security, Keith Schiller. The specific request was to address a roll call at the NYPD Midtown North Precinct, but Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was unequivocal in his answer.

“Our interest is staying out of the politics of the moment, and not to provide photo ops,” Bratton told reporters.

“If Mr. Trump wants to speak to me, I would be happy to brief him on what we’re doing.

“If Sen. Clinton wants to speak to me, I would very happy to brief her on what we’re doing. But we are not in the business of providing photo ops for our candidates.”

NYPD Releases Video Showing Tackle & Cuffing Of Tennis Star James Blake

Earlier this week I reported on the disturbing treatment tennis star James Blake received at the hands of the New York Police Department.

In a case of mistaken identity, an undercover cop rushed Blake, tackled him, then slammed him to the ground and handcuffed him for 15 minutes. The cop never identified himself as a police officer. Eventually other officers were on the scene and they realized they had mistaken Blake for snother man being sought for identity theft.

Finally, Blake received an apology from the Chief of Police and the Mayor, but the cop who body slammed him to the ground never apologized. Not even a simple, “hey man, my bad.”

Identity theft is basically a white collar crime. There was clearly no sense that Blake was or would be violent. Some have wondered if the cop would have used the same force against a white man.

It’s also come to light that the officer, James Frascatore, has had a record of complaints.

The New York Police Department Friday released video showing the cop’s “detaining technique” with Blake, USA Today reported. Watch this and imagine this is your innocent son, peacefully checking his email while waiting for friends, and then this happens.  With no explanation.

Another Cutie On Duty Puts The Fine In “New York’s Finest”

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Cops have fun too #pride #prideparade #nypd #communitypolicing #bratton #modelbrendanjamesPosted by Billy D'Ottavio on Sunday, June 28, 2015

NYPD Detective Stripped Of Badge And Gun After Angry Rant Captured On Video

NYPD detective Patrick Cherry

Yesterday, I wrote about a New York Police Department detective who went bonkers on an Uber driver who honked his horn while the detective was trying to park his car.

The NYPD has been swift to act after the video of the rant went viral.

Detective Patrick Cherry has been removed from the department’s elite Joint Terrorism Task Force and will be doing desk duty until he is officially transferred out of the prestigious division.

“No good cop should watch that video without a wince,” Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a Wednesday press conference. “Because all good cops know that officer just made their jobs a little bit harder.”

“In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable,” Bratton continued. “In any encounter, discourtesy and obscene language like that is unacceptable.

“That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.”

NYPD Falls Victim To Ego

Today at the funeral of murdered NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu, hundreds of officers turned their backs – again – on Mayor De Blasio in protest as he eulogized Liu.

New York Police officers did the same last week at the funeral at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos, who was also killed alongside Officer Liu.

Sadly, these officers chose to ignore a call by Police Commissioner William Bratton to leave politics out of the funeral. Instead, they placed a public protest above the wishes of their commissioner and the family of the slain cop who specifically asked that there be NO political protests made.

Those requests were ignored today.

Members of the NYPD have been angry at the mayor for statements they have decided were “anti-police.” And so, have made these memorial services about THEMSELVES and not the fallen.

I grew up learning an often repeated mantra: “You can be right, or you can get what you want. And they are not always the same thing.”  Getting what you want is winning. Being right is ego.

There is a time and a place to make a political stand. At the funeral of your fallen brother is NOT that place.

Jon Stewart On Eric Garner Case: “I Honestly Don’t Know What To Say”

Jon Stewart opened Wednesday night’s Daily Show dropping the comedy to tackle the “utterly depressing” non-indictment in the Eric Garner case. He said, “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what to say. If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more fucking time.”

At least with Ferguson, Stewart said, there was conflicting testimony, “but here there is none of that.” And there’s no question about unreliable witnesses because there’s video and “we are f*cking watching it.”

NYC: Grand Jury Declines To Indict Officer Who Choked Man To Death

Just days after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a grand jury in Staten Island has decided not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold.

Garner, 43, died July 17 while he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. In a video of the arrest, which has since gone viral, Garner screams “I can’t breathe!” multiple times until his body goes limp. A medical examiner later said that he died of a chokehold, a move that is banned by the NYPD, and ruled his death a homicide.

I’m not anti-police. I’m really not. But it’s difficult to see – given the video and the medical examiner ruling the death a homicide – how the grand jury didn’t see grounds for an indictment of involuntary manslaughter.

I don’t believe Daniel Pantaleo meant to kill Garner, but he did use a chokehold (an NYPD no-no) and he caused the man’s death, albeit by accident.

How is this not involuntary manslaughter?

Reports are now coming in that the Justice Department will investigate the death.