NYPD apologizes for Stonewall raid at Pride Month safety briefing, announces LGBTQ initiative

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill apologized Thursday for the June 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, with the apology coming during the first-ever Pride Month Community Safety Briefing at One Police Plaza.

"What happened should not have happened," O'Neill said. "The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple. The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize."
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NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill apologized Thursday for the June 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn


Stonewall and the small park outside are now part of a national monument, after the raid and riots galvanized the gay rights movement.

Pride organizers cheered O'Neill's remarks.

"The NYPD, as an institution, needed to take responsibility for what happened at Stonewall. This isn't going to undo the decades of violence and discrimination that our community has experienced at the hands of the police, but it's a good first start," said James Fallarino, a spokesman for NYC Pride.

The safety briefing included LGBTQ community leaders, business owners, service providers, and advocacy groups, and the NYPD also announced a new consortium to communicate with private businesses and organizations in the LGBTQ community.

June is Pride Month, and New York City is hosting the Stonewall 50 Rally and WorldPride, an international event which promotes LGBTQ issues through parades, festivals, and other cultural activities, in conjunction with the annual Heritage of Pride march.

An additional three to four million people are expected in New York City from June 22 through July 6 to attend this historic convergence of events.

"As New Yorkers, we're honored to be the first American city to ever host World Pride," O'Neill said. "More than three million people from around the globe will be here to take part in this month-long celebration, and it is our job to keep every single one of them safe, and to make sure they feel safe, too. And nobody does that better than the NYPD."

The NYPD will deploy officers to ensure safety and enjoyment throughout Pride Month, with both uniformed and plainclothes officers assigned to the details at each event.

As always, the NYPD encourages anyone who may see something that appears to be suspicious to find a police officer, call 911, or call the terrorism tip line at 1-888-NYC-SAFE.

During the briefing, O'Neill detailed the launch of the Lavender Alliance, a new LGBTQ enhancement of the Shield program.

The NYPD Shield program is an umbrella counterterrorism program for a series of current and future police department initiatives that pertain to private sector security and counterterrorism.

This is a public-private partnership based on providing best practices, lessons learned, counterterrorism training opportunities, and information sharing.

Shield seeks to partner with private sector security managers with the goal of protecting New York City.

The Lavender Alliance is an optional group within the program for organizations that provide services to the LGBTQ community.

The goal of the Lavender Alliance is to establish a safe and comfortable setting for such organizations by fostering a constructive relationship with the NYPD to engage in the kind of information sharing that is Shield's primary mission.

Organizations that newly register for Shield membership will have the option to identify their establishment as an LGBTQ service provider, while existing members can also request their organization join the Lavender Alliance.

These members will receive the same benefits as Shield members as well as have the opportunity to participate in conferences and training sessions relevant to the LGBTQ community, often in non-police facilities.

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