This Sunday, June 28, 2020, protesters marching in the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives were attacked by police, who pushed them, beat them, and used pepper spray against them toward the end of the march in Washington Square Park. The New York City Anti-Violence Project strongly condemns this violence. Especially in light of all the actions taken over the past month, led by Black and brown New Yorkers to highlight and resist police violence in our city and nation, it is reprehensible for the NYPD to commit violence against our community in broad daylight, at a march commemorating the Stonewall Rebellion.
Last June, then-Police Commission James O’Neil apologized publicly for the NYPD’s role in the violence at the Stonewall Inn, saying of those nights in June 1969, “The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple. The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize. I vow to the LGBTQ community that this would never happen in NYPD 2019.”
Well, it’s 2020, and today’s NYPD is repeating that brutal history by committing violence against LGBTQ community members. Eliel Cruz, AVP’s Director of Communications, captured some of the police violence in a video he then posted to Twitter. He witnessed police escalating violence and directly harming protestors. Overnight, AVP received over fifteen reports of police violence at the march from LGBTQ New Yorkers. This is unacceptable.
As an organization that centers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, this is only the latest example of the ways we see first-hand the harms of increased policing, particularly on queer, trans, and non-binary people of color. Over the last few weeks, we have been providing support to LGBTQ community members who have experienced violence at the hands of the NYPD. The people AVP serves includes: low-income (including homeless) individuals; transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) communities; undocumented immigrants including those seeking asylum; people of color; individuals who are incarcerated or entangled in the criminal legal system; sex workers; and those at the intersections of these identities.
If you have experienced or witnessed violence by police, please reach out to AVP’s 24/7 English-Spanish hotline at 212-714-1141 or report the violence online at avp.org/get-help. AVP is here for you, anytime, anywhere.