How the FBI Deludes Itself
On the June 24, 2002, Back of the Book program I again read from some of the FBI documents obtained by the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) in 1978, under the Freedom of Information Act. This is part of a project I've begun the goal of which is to publish all of the documents we got from the FBI along with my commentary.
GAA was always looking to establish more activist groups. One such group was started on Long Island.
In the Summer of 1971, two Suffolk County (Long Island) cops named Gentles and Geohegan sat around in a gay bar for some time and harassed patrons. When their obnoxious behavior elicited some snappy commments from the clientele they reportedly got angry, pulled out their guns and bregan beating up the batrtender and some patrons. They also called for more cops to show up and turned the event into a raid. Several people were beaten up and arrested. GAA of Long Island wanted to protest this police action and called upon GAA of New York City to join them, which we did.
Our first action was a peaceful picket line outside the Soffolk County police Headquarters in Hauppauge (Long Island). The police were not glad to see a bus load of gay male, lesbian and transvestite activists demonstrating in front of their building and then on the side of the highway.
Some adult anti-gay bigots, seeing the signs, drove their cars up and down the grass median dividing the east and westbound traffic on this large highway while hollering at the demonstrators. The Suffolk County cops ignored this dangerous sort of counter demonstration. The cops also ignored the teenagers who drove a souped up car with special racing wheels back and forth at high speed also trying to harass the demonstrators. At one point the teenagers showed up with a piece of a cardboard box on which they had spreay painted the words “Queers Suck.” The police did nothing to stop eight of them from sitting on the tops of the seats while driving by at high speeds holding up their sign.
Not all demonstrators are as disciplined as we'd like. At one point some decided to cross the dangerous highway and get something to drink from a pushcart type vendor who had set up across the highway from our demonstration. While there the hostile teenagers showed up. There was a little confrontation and the kids sped away, spraying some people with gravel from the big tires. But one transvestite had grabbed their “Queers Suck.” sign from the back of the car as they did this.
The demonstration continued until one of the Suffolk county cops demanded that one of the signs not be displayed. It was the “Queers Suck.” sign. He said it was obscene. He hadn't said a thing about it when it was being held up by the teenagers, but a transvestite carrying it was obscene to him. We were in the process of refusing to get rid of the sign, citing the First amendment to the Constitution, when the cop lunged for it and a general melee erupted. Some demonstrators were arrested. The case of these demonstrators kept getting put off because we had video tape which proved that those arrested had not done anything and that the cops had been the ones violating the law.
There were three more demonstrations around this in Suffolk County. In the final one, on December 14, 1971, members of GAA and GAA Long Island went to the District Attorney's Office in Hauppauge to swear out an arrest warrant for Gentles and Geohegan.
The delegation suddenly found itself surrounded by cops who attacked us all. This was the time that I got my nose broken by some cop. One diminutive lesbian got a rib broken. I sent a cop to the hospital in this fracas.
Three people were formally arrested. As we reassembled outside the building we'd been thrown out of one of the higher ranking cops told me I was under arrest and demanded that I come over to him to surrender. I refused rather adamantly. Perhaps it was the fact that he knew I'd really resist arrest or the fact that I was still bleeding from my broken nose and he didn't want to get blood all over himnself or maybe he didn't want to wade into a bunch of gay activists all alone, but he retreated. We then marched over to a building in this compound where some county legislative body was in session and interrupted it for a few minutes with Arthur Evans giving them all a “shame on you” speech for allowing this sort of thing to happen in their county. I was the bloody “exhibit A” for that speech. But it also made sure that the cops wouldn't come storming out to grab us all, and especially me, after the politicians had seen us.
In the below documents you can see that the FBI is relying on one of the cops, probably one who was an assailant, for their information about what happened. No one had been arrested for sodomy earlier in the month, but then you can hardly expect the Suffolk County cops to tell the true reasons for the demonstrations to the FBI.
Not making it into the FBI report was the fact that one of those arrested, a guy whose name I've blanked out of the report at his request, was visited in his jail cell by Gentles and Geohegan who proceeded to use their handcuffs as brass knuckles and beat him severely. Also arrested at this demonstration was Sylvia Rivera who passed away recently, and a woman who has since changed her name.
These first two pages are all caps because they were sent as teletype messages. The red blanks are my elisions at the request of the person named.
ON DECEMBER FOURTEEN PREVENT, A SPECIAL AGENT OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) OBSERVED APPROXIMATELY FORTY INDIVIDUALS DEMONSTRATE AT SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE HEADQUARTERS, HAUPPAUGE, NEW YORK. DEMONSTRATION STARTED AT APPROXIMATELY TWELVE NOON AND WAS SPONSORED BY THE GAY ACTIVIST ALLIANCE. DURING COURSE OF DEMONSTRATION THREE DEMONSTRATORS WERE ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT.
SOURCE WHO HAS PROVIDED RELIABLE INFORMATION IN THE PAST, ADVISED IDENTITIES OF THOSE ARRESTED WERE NOT KNONWN AT THIS TIME HOWEVER, PERSONS ARRESTED WERE IWO MALES AND ONE FEMALE. SOURCE ADVISED THOSE ARRESTED ARE BEING CHARGED WITH ASSAULT IN
NO LHM WILL FOLLOW. SUBMITTED FOR INFORMATION.
THE IDENTITY OF THE SPECIAL AGENT MENTIONED WAS SPECIAL AGENT ____________________
SOURCE IS _____________________________INTELLIGENCE SQUAD, SUFFOLK COUNTY PD.
NEW YORK FOLLOWING.E N D
ReNYnitel to Bureau dated 12/15/71 captioned as above.
On 12/15/71, _______________________________________ advised the persons arrested by Suffolk County Police Department in connection with instant demonstration were _____________________ age __, __________ Street, New York City; SYLVIA (TONY) RIVERA age 20, 211 Eldridge Street, New York City; CORONA PERROTTA, age 25, 504 West 56th Street, New York City, N.Y. He indicated they were all arraigned in District Court for disorderly conduct and harassment and were released on $100 bond each.
New York Office indices negative regarding RIVERA and PERROTTA. New York Office indices reflect _____ is a member of Gay Activists Alliance and was arrested in August, 1971 in connection with the demonstration at Suffolk County Police Headquarters, Hauppauge, New York. He was released on $300 bail on that arrest.
No additional investigation being conducted by the New York office. Submitted for information.2-Bureau (RM)
Click here to see the actual documents that the above pages were gotten from.
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