NYPD's O'Neill apologizes to LGBTQ community for Stonewall raid: ' What happened should not have happened .. and for that I apologize'

David Caplan
June 05, 2019 - 1:59 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- One day after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson told 1010 WINS it's about time that the NYPD apologize to the LGBTQ community for its 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn -- which kicked off the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement --  NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill apologized for the raid.

"I think it would be irresponsible of me as we go through World Pride month not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969," O'Neill said at a press conference. "I'm certainly not going to be an expert of what happened at Stonewall. I do know what happened should not have happened."

He continued, "The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong, plain and simple. The actions and laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that I apologize. To the LGBTQ community, this would never happen in 2019."

New York City World Pride tweeted, "Thank you, @NYPDONeill and @NYPDNews. We are all very proud today."

SPECIAL COVERAGE: 1010 WINS PRIDE: In honor of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, 1010 WINS hears from the trailblazers who were there, and explores LGBTQ NYC

Earlier in the day, New York City World Pride tweeted, "We demand @NYPDNews issue an apology to the LGBTQIA+ community for the violent police raid that triggered the #Stonewall Uprising. @NYPDONeill is offered the stage at the #Stonewall50 Commemoration Rally during #WorldPride2019 on June 28 to issue the apology."

Johnson, who is openly gay, told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa Wednesday afternoon, "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, and it's something they should do,"

He added, "I think it's never bad to apologize. One thing that personally I do, is if I think I've made a mistake, I try to say I'm sorry, I was wrong and I learn from that because I don't think there is anything wrong with admitting a mistake. It shows decency to recognize something that you may have done wrong."

And with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising later this month, during Pride Month, Johnson said it would be well-timed to issue an apology in June.

"I would love for it happen this month and I will bring it up to the police commissioner," Johnson said. "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."

In response to Johnson's comments, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill told 1010 WINS on Wednesday, "The NYPD of today is much different than the department of 50 years ago, and a number of important changes have been implemented that bring the police and all the communities we serve closer together."

He continued, "More than three million people from across the globe will come to New York City to take part in World Pride and this month-long celebration of equality. We are looking forward to the many events surrounding this year's milestone anniversary, and to working with all attendees to ensure that everyone not only is safe, but feels safe, too."

Following O'Neill's apology Thursday, Johnson tweeted, "We appreciate this apology. Thank you @NYPDONeill. This is so wonderful to hear during Pride."

The idea of the NYPD issuing an apology is nothing new: At a speech hosted by the New York City Bar Association in June 2017, one day after that year's Pride March, O'Neill was asked by a man in the audience if he would "apologize for the discrimination and violence" at the raid.

O'Neil's response then? "I think that's been addressed already. We're moving forward." 

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