Well, that could have been handled better. The Police Commissioner of the NYPD just said that his department doesn’t owe anyone an apology for raids on gay bars such as the one that led to the Stonewall Riots.
To be fair … nobody who currently works at the NYPD was involved with the raid in 1969. But if you’re going to be proud of your organization’s long heritage and history of achievements, you’ve got to acknowledge the bad things your predecessors did as well.
And the NYPD has certainly made those acknowledgements. “There’s no doubt denying that out of that terrible experience came so much good, that it was the tipping point,” said Commissioner Bill Bratton. “An apology, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s necessary. The apology is all that’s occurred since then.”
Yes, it’s true, the police certainly have changed. When Bratton made that statement, there was a police vehicle parked outside that was adorned in rainbows and pride logos. When “hot cops” get identified by the gay community these days, they wear it as a badge of honor. It’s an incredible state of affairs that we’ve gone from the police raiding our bars and ruining lives to having their support.
Bratton himself was appointed as a liaison to the gay community in Boston, all the way back in the 1970s. “Times have changed and are continuing to change,” he said.
That’s putting it mildly. And yeah, it’s really nice to have the support of the police. Maybe an apology isn’t necessary after all this time, and after all that the cops have done to change their culture of antagonism to queers. Of course, even the current NYPD is criticized for all sorts of other prejudices.
But still … how hard is it to say “sorry about that”?