New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill officially apologized on behalf of the NYPD for the police raids of LGBTQ spaces that led to the Stonewall riots in 1969.
O’Neill was speaking at the annual Pride Safety Briefing on Thursday when he said it would be “irresponsible” of him not to address the very raids that launched Pride Month to begin with.
“I’m certainly not gonna stand up here and pretend to be an expert on what happened at Stonewall,” O’Neill said. “I do know what happened should not have happened.”
“The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple,” he continued. “The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that I apologize.”
The apology marks a notably historic shift from an institution that sought to criminalize queerness and gender-noncomformity, but it should be noted that police participation at Pride events is a cause of tension among activists who point out that police harassment is still disproportionately targeted at the transgender community, particularly transgender people of color.
Watch O’Neill speak below:
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 6, 2019