As the LGBTQ community marks the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion during this year’s Pride Month, gay bar owners and queer activists find themselves still being targeted by police amid the George Floyd protests.
In fact, one attack by NYPD officers occurred following a rally at the Stonewall Inn, the historic site where the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement began after it was raided by police on June 28, 1969.
On June 2, queer activists staged a rally outside the Stonewall Inn to highlight deadly violence targeting black transgender people. Shortly after they left the rally, police brutalized and arrested them.
Gay City News reports: After the activists began marching from Stonewall along the west side of Manhattan, several activists were arrested, including Jason Rosenberg and Marti Gould Cummings, who is seeking a Manhattan City Council seat in 2021. Cummings said they were arrested at 8:15 and Rosenberg, whose face was seen bloodied on social media posts, said in a video he uploaded that individuals were peacefully locked arm-in-arm when cops barrelled in and hit him with batons and punches, forcing him to receive medical treatment for an arm injury and cuts to his head. In that video which he posted after he was released, a bloodied Rosenberg said he and others were arrested at the intersection of East 14th Street and Fifth Avenue.
In another incident, police opened fire with “less-lethal” ammunition outside a gay bar in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 30. Tim Lemuel, the owner of Ruby Deluxe, said he initially went to his business to protect it from looters, but he and some friends ended up setting up a first-aid station for protesters. That’s when Wake County sheriff’s deputies ambushed them in response to an anonymous tip that they were providing water and other supplies to demonstrators.
“I was in the Army for eight years, so the bangs didn’t bother me, but my staff were scared out of their minds,” Lemuel said. “If you’ve never been in that situation, it appears like you’re going to be killed.”
Raleigh’s News & Observer reports: Council member Saige Martin was sent the video by multiple people, and said he knows the establishment well as a queer person. He was one of two openly LGBTQ people elected to the council in 2019 — a first for the city. … At the start of Pride Month — an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community in June — Martin said he was reminded of the “black and brown trans and queer bodies that started the queer liberation movement in New York in Stonewall.” “We are still dealing with those same issues for those same people today,” he said. “And hearing those words echo so aggressively as if there was a game to be had? I think (it) speaks perfectly well to the kind of culture and thinking that exists and pervades law enforcement today.”
On June 1, the very first day of Pride Month, a similar scene played out in Des Moines, Iowa, when police raided a gay bar, Blazing Saddle, where employees were providing first aid to protesters.
Blazing Saddle reported on Facebook: An unmarked white pick-up containing numerous officers in riot gear turned onto our street. Many of the people on foot started running and our people with first aide supplies were heading back to the Saddle from the alley. At this point the police disembarked from the pick-up bed, guns pointed, and proceeded to put the 3 on the ground. The rest of us (4 others) entered the building and locked the door as the police came at us. We were told to unlock the door and 3 of us were told to come outside while 1 had run to hide. As they held us at the front door with guns, 2 officers went into the bar to make sure it was “clear”. They found our 4th person and thoroughly frisked them before bringing them outside, then the officers continued to sweep the bar looking for others. …. The 3 on the ground were then cuffed face down on the sidewalk and asked what was in the backpack. The 3 who went to jail waited approximately 2+ hours for processing, were bailed out and still had to remain in the jail and were also denied medical attention/care as 1 was one maintenance meds that were in their confiscated backpack.
Watch another video of the incident here.