On November 27th of 1978 a former cop named Dan White broke into San Francisco city hall through a basement window. He was carrying his old police issue .38, which he took into mayor George Moscone’s office. After a brief argument he assassinated Moscone, and then turned his attentions to Harvey Milk. Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, and during his first 11 months on the board of supervisors he had passed an uncompromising gay rights ordinance in a city where the police had always had conflict with the queer community. White shot Harvey Milk multiple times, including twice in the head at point blank range.
When brought to trial, White, who had killed two people over political differences, claimed that he was not responsible for the murders because eating sugary foods had led him to have a “diminished capacity.” On November 26, 1979 the all white, mostly Catholic jury (The prosecutor had excused anyone who was gay or not caucasian,) found White to be guilty ONLY of voluntary manslaughter, and for killing two people in cold blood he served only about 5 years.
After the verdict, the lesbian, gay, and transgender communities of San Francisco rioted outside of city hall and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. During the trial cops had been seen openly wearing “Free Dan White” shirts, and retribution came in the form of burning squad cars and injured officers. This uprising, known as the White Night riots, was swift, severe, and righteous in its anger. In the aftermath police and politicians demanded an apology from leaders of queer advocacy groups: none was offered. The flier above was created and distributed by Lesbians Against Police Violence and The Stonewall Coalition, and served as a reminder that no atonement is necessary for an act of resistance against injustice.