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"Wrong, plain and simple": NYPD apologizes for raid that led to Stonewall riots

NYC council speaker on NYPD apology
NYC council speaker talks NYPD apology, 2021 race 05:05

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is preparing for a record amount of visitors for NYC Pride celebrations this month. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill began Pride Month apologizing for the actions that started the Stonewall riots 50 years ago.

The riots began with a police raid of the Greenwich Village bar back in June 1969, and became a seminal moment in the LGBTQ movement. The Stonewall Inn became a national monument in 2016.

"While I'm certainly not going to stand up here and pretend to be an expert on what happened at Stonewall, I do know that 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."

It's the first time an NYPD commissioner has apologized for the department's actions leading up to the riots.

Stonewall Inn
A view inside the front entrance at the Stonewall Inn on June 24, 2016, in New York City. Getty

More than six million people are expected to participate in Pride Month events this year. In addition to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an international celebration of LGBTQ rights known as World Pride is coming to New York.

The NYPD held its first-ever security briefing for the celebration on Thursday. It comes as police have seen a 30% jump in hate crimes based on sexual orientation this year. This past weekend, two rainbow flags were set on fire at a bar in Harlem. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Officials said there were no credible threats against the city's annual Pride parade.

"I want nothing to detract from this inspiring celebration," O'Neill said. "The NYPD takes all forms of bias seriously, because we will never tolerate hate of any kind on our city's communities."

Watch O'Neill's full comments below in the video:

NYPD commissioner apologizes for raid that led to Stonewall riots 01:32
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