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Stonewall riots deputy inspector claims police were “on the side of right”

Nell Frizzell June 24, 2009
Marsha Johnson was instrumental in the 1969 Stonewall riots

The beginning of the Stonewall riots

Just before the 40th anniversary of the legendary Stonewall riots, a high-ranking New York police officer has said that the force was right to raid the bar.

The riots, which have been cited as many as the touchpaper for the establishment of a gay rights movement in America, erupted when members of the New York Police Department enacted a raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular hangout for gays, lesbians and trans people.

Speaking yesterday on a special edition of the Brian Lehrer Show on the American radio station WNYC-FM, Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine argued that police were called to the bar because of complaints about mafia connections, dirty drink glasses, and the violation of contemporary dress codes.

According to, Pine admitted that although the Stonewall Inn was unofficially known as the “gay headquarters” of the West Village, the sexuality of the patrons had little to do with the decision to raid the bar.

Pine, who was a former member of NYPD’s vice and gambling unit, said: “We never would have done something without supervision from the federal authorities and the state authorities. They were involved with this just as well as we were.”

“When we took the action that we took that night,” argued Pine, “we were on the side of right.”

“I don’t think not liking gay people had anything to do with it,” he added.

More: Americas

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