50 years after police incited what came to be known as the Stonewall Uprising, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has come forward to formally apologize for their 1969 raid of the Stonewall Inn.
During a Pride month-related safety briefing, NYPD chief commissioner James O’Neill apologized on behalf of the entire police department, noting that the actions of the force during that time were “wrong, plain and simple.”
“I think it would be irresponsible to go through WorldPride month and not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” O’Neill said during his statements.
The apology comes after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded yesterday during a radio interview that the NYPD accept blame for the 1969 raid as the city prepares to enter Pride month and, specifically, the WorldPride | Stonewall 50 celebrations.
“The NYPD in the past has apologized for other incidents that have occurred, so I think the NYPD apologizing on this would be a very, very good thing,” Johnson told radio host Juliet Papa. “I will have a conversation with [the NYPD commissioner] about it, 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.”
O’Neill’s statements are historic, considering it marks the first time anyone from the NYPD has formally apologized for the department’s actions. The police raid on June 28, 1969 is largely credited for inciting the Stonewall Uprising and sparking the modern gay rights movement and fight for equality in the United States.
“I vow to the LGBTQ community that this would never happen in the NYPD in 2019,” O’Neill said, according to a report from The New York Times. “We have, and we do, embrace all New Yorkers.”