Police Officer Who Led Raid on Stonewall Inn Dies at 91

Seymour Pine is practically responsible for the gay rights movement!

He led the 1969 raid on the gay bar – the Stonewall Inn –  which sparked the modern gay rights movement. He died this month at 91.

Pine was a  deputy police inspector at the time and later apologized for the raid, according to his obituary in the New York Times.

The Times said:

“Although the ostensible reason for the raid was to crack down on prostitution and other organized-crime activities, it was common at the time for the police to raid gay bars and arrest cross-dressers and harass customers.

The club, on Christopher Street near Seventh Avenue South, was owned by members of the Mafia. Inspector Pine later said he conducted the raid on orders from superiors.”

The raid on Stonewall was the beginning of nights of rioting, with crowds in the thousands.

“The Stonewall uprising is the signal event in American gay and lesbian civil rights history because it transformed a small movement that existed prior to that night into a mass movement,” David Carter, author of  Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution (2004), said to the Times.

“There’s been a stereotype that Seymour Pine was a homophobe,”  Carter told the Times. “He had some of the typical hang-ups and preconceived ideas of the time, but I think he was strictly following orders, not personal prejudice against gay people.”
Seymour Pine is survived by his sons Daniel and Charles; a brother, Arnold; a sister, Connie Katz; and seven grandchildren. His wife of 45 years, the former Judith Handler, died in 1987.