From Our Archives: The 1969 Advocate Article on the Stonewall Riots
BY Michelle Garcia
June 29 2012 12:05 PM ET
'UP YOUR IRISH ASS'
They made full use of their night sticks, brandishing them like swords. At one point a cop grabbed a wild Puerto Rican queen and lifted his arm to bring a club down on "her." In his best Maria Montez voice, the queen challenged, "How'd you like a big Spanish dick up your little Irish ass?" The cop was so shocked he hesitated in his swing, and the queen escaped.
At another point, two lonely cops were chasing a hundred or more people down Waverly Place. Someone shouted out that the queens outnumbered the cops and suggested catching them, ripping off their clothes, and screwing them. The cops abandoned the chase and fled back to the main force for protection.
The police action did eventually disperse the crowds, many of whom abandoned the cause and headed to the docks for some fun. By 2:30, nearly two hours after the bus had been delayed, the area was again peaceful. Apart from the two to three hundred cops standing around the area, it looked like an unusually dull Saturday night.
Then at 3 a.m., the bars closed and the patrons of the many gay bars in the area arrived to see what was happening. They were organized and another attempt was made to liberate Christopher Street. The police, still there in great numbers, managed to break up the demonstrations. One small group did break off and attempt to liberate the IND subway station at 6th Avenue and Waverly Place, but the police went in and chased everyone out.
By 5:30 a.m., the area was secure enough that the TPF police were sent home, and the docks were packed tight with homosexuals having the times of their lives. After all, everything was perfectly "safe" — all the cops were on "The Corner!
ONLY FOUR INJURED
In all, 13 people were arrested on Saturday morning — seven of them employees of the Stonewall. Four more were arrested on Sunday morning, and many more were detained, then released. Apparently only four persons were injured — all of them cops. Three suffered minor bruises and scratches, and one a "broken wrist" (it was not specified whether it was the kind of "broken wrist" that requires a cast, or the kind that makes it noisy to wear a bangle bracelet).
Sunday night saw a lot of action in the Christopher Street area. Hundreds of people were on the streets, including, for the first time, a large "leather" contingent. However, there were never enough people to outnumber the large squads of cops milling about, trying desperately to head off any trouble.
The Stonewall was again a "free store," and the citizenry was treated to the sight of the cops begging homoexuals to go inside the bar that they had chased everyone out of a few nights before.
Inasmuch as all the cops in town seemed to be near The Corner again, the docks were very busy, and two boys went to the Charles Street station house and pasted "Equality for Homosexuals" bumper stickers on cop cars, and the van used to take away prisoners.
One of the most frightening comments was made by one cop to another, and overheard by a MSNY member being held in detention. One said he'd enjoyed the fracas. "Them queers have a good sense of humor, and really had a good time," he said. His "buddy" protested, "Aw, they're sick. I like nigger riots better because there's more action, but you can't beat up a fairy. They ain't mean like blacks; they're sick. But you can't hit a sick man."
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