Seymour Pine, 91, a high-ranking officer in the New York Police Department who spent the last seven years of his life as a resident of the Judy and Josh Weston Assisted Living Residences in Whippany, died Sept. 2, 2010.
Pine, who retired from the NYPD in 1976 as a deputy inspector, was best remembered for commanding a 1969 raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn.
For three days, several hundred battled police with garbage cans, beer bottles, and even an uprooted parking meter. The moment is considered the birth of the contemporary gay rights movement in America.
Pine discussed his role in a recently released film titled Stonewall Uprising, telling an interviewer, “You knew they broke the law, but what kind of law was that?”
“It was a big night for action,” he told NJ Jewish News as he sat in his bedroom on the Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus. “We raided them and it escalated. I have no regrets.”(See “Former cop recalls role in gay rights milestone,” July 29.)
He was born in Manhattan in 1919 and grew up in Queens as the son of Polish immigrants.
Pine attended Brooklyn College until he was drafted into the Army during World War II, and was trained as an expert in hand-to-hand combat. He fought in Sicily, Italy, and France. After a landmine exploded before a battle outside the city of Nancy, he sustained a back injury that pained him all of his life.
After the war he returned to the police department and rose through its ranks, telling NJJN, “I didn’t find any anti-Semitism except for some Jew name-calling, and it didn’t affect my rise in rank or promotions.”
Predeceased by his wife Judy Handler, he is survived by two sons, Dan of Short Hills and Chuck of Manhattan; and three grandchildren, Hunter, Rebecca, and Benjamin.
Services were held Sept. 5 with full honor guards from the U.S. Army and the NYPD, with arrangements by Star of David Chapel, West Babylon, NY.