Police raids on gay bars and nightclubs were a regular event in cities across the United States. Commonly the police would record the identities of all those present, which would be subsequently published in the newspaper, then load up their police van with as many as it would hold. Kissing, holding hands, or even being in a gay bar at all was used as grounds for arrest on indecency charges at that time.
The Stonewall raid on June 29, 1969 started out just like any other raid. Seven plainclothes policemen entered the bar along with one uniformed policeman, allegedly to investigate improprieties in the liquor license. They cleared the bar, whose clientele remained on the sidewalk and street outside.
The situation took a dramatic turn for the worse, and the police began beating people who resisted with their nightsticks. The crowd started throwing rocks and bottles rather than coins. The…
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