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San Francisco Police Chief Offers Historic Apology To LGBTQ Community

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- The San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott on Monday night made a landmark apology to the LGBTQ community during a meeting at Glide Memorial Church.

The police chief and most of his command staff gathered at Glide Memorial Church Monday evening for the first meeting of what he called a "listening tour" with the LGBT community.  He began with the historic apology.

"I and the men and women of this police department are truly sorry," the chief said. "We are sorry for what happened, we are sorry for our role in it and we are sorry for the harm that it caused. Some here tonight may ask, 'Why now?' Why are we doing this now? And for those of you who might wonder why, I say it's because we are listening. We hear you. And because it's time."

Scott told members of the LGBTQ community he wanted to build a bridge between the department and the community after major tensions in the past.

The apology came 53 years after the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in the Tenderloin during August 1966. The violence was sparked by a series of police actions against transgender patrons of the cafeteria.

"We can't simply forget about the wrongs of the past and hope that the pain, the hurt caused by these wrongs will simply go away, because they won't," said Scott.

Some in the community say an apology is not enough, as a large percentage of homeless people also identify as LGBTQ.

"Every night, homeless people and other homeless youth are targeted by sweeps and being brutalized," said one activist. "If you want to truly apologize for something, you have to stop what you're doing."

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