Police brutality: Stonewall Riots’ 51st anniversary in the spotlight this weekend

Police brutality: Stonewall Riots’ 51st anniversary in the spotlight this weekend
Posted on 26 Jun 2020

This weekend marks the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots - a ‘moment in history’ that signposted the route to equality for the LGBTQ community across the western world.

The anniversary is receiving increased media attention this year as a result of the comparisons being made between the Riots and the current Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Like BLM, the Riots were precipitated by instances of police brutality towards a minority... 

In the early hours of 28 June 1969, local police raided the Stonewall Inn to acquire evidence of liquer being sold, drugs being traded, and of men dressed as women and women dressed as men. 

As the police entered, the usual procedures were followed. The lights were turned on, music stopped. Tills were emptied. Couples separated. Disappointment, frustration and nervousness rippled through the crowd.

Unusually there was some resistance, but the raid continued. Lesbians were roughly frisked and they too complained. Pieces of furniture were smashed. 

People perceived to be transvestite were usually held in the toilets, but this time many physically resisted, saying, “Get your hands off me!” and “Don’t touch me!” It was this, Deputy Inspector Pine said years later, that made him decide to arrest more people than planned...

The above is an extract from Matthew Todd’s book, PRIDE: The Story Of The LGBTQ Equality Movement, which is available from carltonbooks.co.uk


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