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Gay History – August 18, 1978: Boston Police Beat, Arrest 3 Gay Teens, Screams “This is for Anita Bryant!”

We have come a long way as a community when it came to the targeted gay harassment by the police of the 1960’s and 1970’s, but on the night of August 18, 1972 three gay teens, were walking in the Beacon Hill section of Boston as hey heard screams coming from the Arlington Street T station. Two men came out of the station and ran to their cars. When one of the teens Larry Brown called out their license plate numbers to his friends,the two men chased them down, beat and kicked them, and shouted, “This is for Anita Bryant!”

When the police finally arrived, the three youths learned that the men who had beaten them were actually Boston police officers: John Gillespie and Thomas Clifford. Patrol officers then arrested the victims, with Gillespie and Clifford going free. On the way back to the station, the arresting officers threatened to dump the youths “in the Charles River or the Blue Hills” saying: “queers have no right to live.”

Then Massachusetts State Rep. Barney Frank demanded an investigation, the BPD’s Internal Affairs Division obliged. They found Clifford and Gillespie guilty of physical and verbal abuse against the young men, failing to submit incident reports, and submitting false statements to their commanders and to IAD. Lt. Ralph Maglio was also found guilty of neglecting his responsibilities as a duty supervisor and of making false statements to IAD.

BPD Commissioner Joseph M. Jordan suspended Clifford and Gillespie for three months without pay. Maglio received a one week suspension without pay.

Jordon’s action made it the first time Boston police officers had ever been disciplined for abusing gay people

Source: Box Turtle Bulletin

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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