Stonewall Riot Police Reports, June 28, 1969

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Newly Obtained Documents Reveal

Name of Woman Arrestee and Names of Three Men Arrestees:

Marilyn Fowler, Vincent DePaul, Wolfgang Podolski, and Thomas Staton


SW Head Image"Sat"150dpi.jpeg


To honor the 40th anniversary celebration, in June 2009, of the Stonewall Riots, OutHistory.org is, for the first time, publishing nine pages of New York City Police Department records created early on the morning of the rebellion’s start, June 28, 1969.


Reproduced in facsimile with transcriptions, these sometimes hard-to-read but historic documents provide an immediate sense of what the police called an "Unusual Occurrence" at the Stonewall -- the rebellion that has come to symbolize the start of the modern, militant LGBTQ movement for civil rights and liberation.


The NYPD records include new, important, and striking details:

Raymond Castro, about 1969


  • Officer Charles Broughton of the 1st Division arrested Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler and Vincent DePaul, charging that they “with each other did shove and kick the officer.” This is the first time that Fowler and DePaul have been named and documented as rebellion participants. Fowler’s name is extremely significant, since no other woman’s arrest has so far been documented, and numbers of witnesses attributed the intensification of the riot to the arrest and resistance of an unnamed butch lesbian. (Castro is named as a participant in David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. See also: Raymond Castro Interviewed by Jonathan Ned Katz: June 16, 2009.)[1]


  • Police officer Charles Holmes of the 6th Precinct was treated at nearby Saint Vincent’s Hospital after being bitten on the right wrist by a Stonewall rebel. Biting has not earlier been documented as a Stonewall resistance tactic.[2]


  • Officer Andrew Scheu of the 6th Precinct charged that Wolfgang Podolski had resisted arrest and had struck the “arresting officer in the left eye with a rolled up newspaper causing officer to fall to ground sustaining a fractured left wrist.” This is the first documented reference to Podolski, a waiter or writer (the report is unclear), as a rebellion participant. This is also the first reference to a rolled up newspaper as a resistance weapon.[3]


  • Officer Gail Lynch, of the 5th Precinct, charged that Thomas Staton interfered with an officer making an arrest “by throwing assorted objects [and] while with others did become very loud and refused to comply.” Staton has not earlier been named and documented as a rebellion participant, and Lynch has not earlier been named as one of the women police officers at the scene. The records published by OutHistory for the first time list the full names of several other officers involved in the riot.[4]


  • An unfortunate Volkswagen owner complained to officer Robert Hansen of the 6th Precinct that her car, parked near the rebellion scene, had been “stomped” on during the disturbance and sustained damage to the roof, hood, and rear.[5]


  • Officer Gilbert Weisman of the 6th Precinct charged that David Van Ronk, “Actor” (he was actually a well-known folksinger) “Did assault the officer about the face with an unknown object.” The heterosexual, resistant Van Ronk was arrested, handcuffed, taken into the Stonewall, and later taken away in a patrol wagon. He eventually pleaded guilty to “harassment,” a violation, and was later sued by Weisman for assault, and paid the officer a fine. Van Ronk's arrest was reported at the time of the rebellion, and is discussed in David Carter's history.[6]


Seven pages of NYPD records reproduced on OutHistory.org were obtained in May 2009 by Jonathan Ned Katz, Director of the website, in consultation with historian David Carter, and two additional pages reproduced were obtained in 1988 by the late Michael Scherker, under the New York State Freedom of Information Law.[7]


For the first time, in the seven documents obtained by Katz, the names of those arrested are not blacked out, providing the public and historians with important new evidence about the rebellion's participants. None of the nine NYPD reports made available on OutHistory.org have earlier been published


Katz asks that anyone with knowledge of the persons arrested or charged, or any knowledge of the police officers named, contact him at: jnk123@mac.com. Any information about arrestees Vincent DePaul, Marilyn Fowler, Wolfgang Podolski, and Thomas Staton would be "greatly appreciated," says Katz. Any information about Fowler is of “special interest,” he says.


New York Police Department reports and transcriptions listed below.


The Joseph Ambrosini Photo

PhotoStonewall riots.jpg

This photo of young Stonewall resistors, one of the few known pictures from the first night of the rebellion, is credited to Joseph Ambrosini in the New York Daily News on Sunday, June 29, 1969. Several years ago, historian Jonathan Ned Katz found the name Joseph Ambrosini in the New York City telephone book, called, and spoke to a relative of the deceased news photographer. Asked what happened to a lifetime's collection of negatives and prints, the relative said the photographer had dumped his whole archive in the garbage, imagining that it was worthless.


The story in the Daily News, night owl edition, page 30, is headlined: "3 Cops Hurt As Bar Raid Riles Crowd." The caption under the picture says: "Crowd attempts to impede police arrests outside the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Street."


The story reads: "Police have been keeping an eye on the Stonewall Inn at 55 Christopher St. for some time. They had been told to explore the possibility of 'local syndicate involvements.' Last week, they raided the Greenwich Village place, tabbed a homosexual handout and said they gathered evidence of illegal sale of alcohol. That raid went off without a hitch. At 2 a.m. yesterday, in a second raid, the picture was different. At least three policemen suffered minor injuries from an irate crowd, the front of the place was set afire and 13 persons were arrested. Peace was restored about 4 a.m."

Stonewall Riot NYPD Reports and Transcriptions

Documents and Transcripts Listed by Time of Occurrence, from Earliest to Latest

Document 1

Against David Van Ronk by Officer Gilbert Weisman

Date and Time of Arrest: 2 am, 6/28/69

Document 2

Against David Van Ronk by Officer Gilbert Weisman

Date and Time of Arrest: 2 am, 6/28/69

Document 3

Against People (Raymond Castro, Marilyn Fowler, Vincent Depaul) by Officer Charles Broughton

Time of Occurrence: 2 am, 6/28/69

Document 4

Against Wolfgang Podolski by Officer Andrew Scheu

Time of Occurrence: 3 am, 6/28/69

Document 5

Against People (Wolfgang Podolski) by Officer Andrew Scheu

Time of Occurrence: 3 am, 6/28/69

Document 6

Complainant (blacked out name of Volkswagen owner) taken by Officer Robert Hansen

Time of Occurrence: approximately 3 am, 6/28/69

Document 7

Against People (Thomas Staton) by Officer Gail Lynch

Time of Occurrence: 3 am, 6/28/69

Document 8A

“Saturday, June 28, 1969 5 am, Unusual Occ[urrence] [3 crossed out] 4 Ptl [Patrolmen] injured”

Document 8B

(bottom of Document 8A)

Document 9A

“Saturday, June 28, 1969 [time unclear] am, Unusual Occ[urrence] (cont), [page number] 175”

Document 9B

(bottom of Document 9A)

People Named in Stonewall Police Documents

OutHistory would like information about any of those mentioned, listed in alphabetical order:


40th Anniversary Events

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall resistance, OutHistory.org is also republishing novelist and essayist Edmund White’s eyewitness letter about the riots, written to friends a few weeks after the rebellion, and playwright Martin Sherman’s recollection of the riots. Neither were earlier available online. See:

Edmund White: Letter to Ann and Alfred Corn, July 8, 1969

Martin Sherman: "A Hot Night in June," November 1994

Since Stonewall Contest

OutHistory.org is also sponsoring a Since Stonewall Local LGBT Histories Contest, with substantial prizes for the best five entries.

New York Times and Associated Press Cover OutHistory.org Revelations

The importance of the documents published by OutHistory were discussed on the New York Times website on June 22, 2009, at: "Police Records Document the Stonewall Uprising", and OutHistory's documents were reproduced.


The Associated Press also ran a story on June 27, 2009, about Raymond Castro, citing OutHistory's record of his arrest and that of Marilyn Fowler. See: "Stonewall Rebel Reflects 40 Years After NYC Riots".


References

  1. See: Image:NYPD 3.150dpi.jpeg
  2. See: Image:NYPD 8A.150dpi.jpeg
  3. See: Image:NYPD 2.150dpi.jpeg and Image:NYPD 7.150dpi.jpeg
  4. See: Image:NYPD 6.150dpi.jpeg
  5. See: Image:NYPD 5.150dpi.jpeg
  6. See: Image:NYPD 1.150dpi.jpeg and Image:NYPD 4.150dpi.jpeg. Information about Van Ronk from the notes of David Carter.
  7. In 1988, Michael Scherker, with the aid of Joan P. Gibbs, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, sued under the New York State Freedom of Information Law, and the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, for copies of New York City Police Department records on the Stonewall raid, and for records of surveillance of gay and lesbian political groups. In November 1988, Scherker won his case and received numbers of redacted police records, two of which are reproduced here (documents 8A, 8B, 9A, 9B) from the Scherker file in the Cornell Universitiy Library. See Scherker v. Ward, New York State Supreme Court, Index No. 19024-1988, and City of New York, Police Department Legal Bureau, F.O.I.L. Unit to Jonathan Ned Katz, May 1, 2009.
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pjm said ...
16:59, 12 July 2010 (EST)
Were any of the protestors appearing in the photo from the first nite of the uprising ever identified? I have spent some time looking but haven't found an answer yet. Also, it was very unclear to me in the newlt reeleased documentary whether any of the film used was of the actual Stonewall uprising -- the documentarians did not seen to distinguish authetic vs. re-enactment at all.
Jnk said ...
13:46, 13 July 2010 (EST)
In response to pjm, I believe that the new Stonewall film says that some of the people in the one photo from the first night of rioting have been identified. Or perhaps that claim was made at the discussion following the opening of the film.

And, yes, the director and writer of the new Stonewall film mix different "riot" footage together, and don't tell us which is which, and which is reenactment footage.

Jonathan Ned Katz, Founder, Co-Director, OutHistory.org
FAS said ...
14:49, 14 March 2011 (EST)
"Do you know of any way to contact someone who was in a riot? Police officer, onlooker or actual protester?"

I was there. Question?

Jnk said ...
15:53, 14 March 2011 (EST)
In response to FAS

I'm not sure what information you want. Are you interested in any riot? Or just Stonewall? Tell us more.

Jonathan Ned Katz, Co-Director OutHistory.org
FAS said ...
19:49, 14 March 2011 (EST)
I was responding to a commenter who requested, "Do you know of any way to contact someone who was in a riot? Police officer, onlooker or actual protester?"

I was at Stonewall and responded to the commenter asking if there was a question, although I no longer can see that original comment.

I saw your comment and sent a more detailed response to the email address listed for you but it was returned as undeliverable.

I'd included information for you to reach the director of Stonewall Uprising in that email who might clarify which segments were original vs re-enactments for you.

I can be reached at the email address on my registration.


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