Friday, January 15, 2010

The Stonewall Police Riot: Gay Rights 1969 (1)

Today I have taken from the voluminous pages of New York City's rich and turbulent history, the "Gay Liberation Movement" and the Stonewall Police Riot which occurred in 1969. Stonewall was not only the historical turning point for the gay rights movement but it also marked the start of a new concept of gay identity-Gay Pride versus the closet."

This is the coverage from the New York Times Dated June 30, 1969.

"HUNDREDS OF YOUNG MEN WENT ON A RAMPAGE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE, shortly after 3 A.M. yesterday after a force of plain-clothes men raided a bar that the police said was well known for its homo-sexual clientele.

Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured. The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square.

Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine said that a large crowd formed in the square after being evicted from the bar. Police reinforcements were sent to the area to hold off the crowd. Plainclothes men and detectives confiscated cases of liquor from the bar, which inspector Pine said was operating without a liquor license.

The police estimated that 200 young men had been expelled from the bar. The crowd grew to close to 400 during the melee, which lasted about 45 minutes, they said. Arrested in the melee, was Dave Van Ronk, 33 years old, of 15 Sheridan Square, a well-known folk singer. He was accused of having thrown a heavy object at a patrolman and later paroled in his own recognizance.

The Raid was one of three held on Village bars in the last two weeks, Inspector Pine said. Charges against the 13 who were arrested ranged from harassment and resisting arrest to disorderly conduct. A patrolman suffered a broken wrist, the police said.

Throngs of young men congregated outside the inn last night, reading aloud condemnations of the police. A sign on the door said, "This is a private club. Members only." Only soft drinks were being served.

Heavy police reinforcements cleared the Sheridan Square area of Greenwich Village again yesterday morning when large crowds of young men, angered by a police raid on an inn frequented by homosexuals, swept through the area. Tactical Patrol Force units assigned to the East Village poured into the area about 2:15 A.M. after units from the Charles Street station house were unable to control a crowd of about 400 youths, some of whom were throwing bottles and lighting small fires.

To be continued: The Stonewall Police Riot: Gay Rights 1969 (2)

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