A Jewish cop whose actions in 1969 helped advance rights for gay people in the U.S. — albeit inadvertently — has died at the age of 91.
Seymour Pine was the deputy police inspector who led the raid on the Greenwich Village gay bar the Stonewall Inn in 1969. As The New York Times wrote in today’s Pine obit, the moment — and the legendary riots that followed — “helped start the gay liberation movement.” Stonewall, gay historian David Carter told the Times, “is to the gay movement what the fall of the Bastille is to the unleashing of the French Revolution.”
Pine apologized repeatedly for his role in the raid. In a now-famous 2004 talk at the New York Historical Society, according to the Villager newspaper, “Pine admitted that the police of the era were biased against gays. “They certainly were prejudiced. There was no question about that,” he said. “But they had no idea about what gay people were about.”
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