A New York man allegedly smashed the window of the Stonewall Inn with a baseball bat after an altercation with a bouncer Saturday morning, damaging the LGBTQ rights landmark’s iconic neon sign in the process.
Officials from the New York City Police Department say William Gomez, 19, of Brooklyn has been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon.
The Stonewall Inn is part of a national monument and the site of the June 28, 1969, uprising that became the symbolic start of the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement. The case is not being investigated as an anti-LGBTQ hate crime.
Stonewall bouncer Salvador Bobadilla told the New York Daily News he was escorting a half-naked customer out of the bar when that patron became hostile.
“I told him, ‘You have to leave,’” Bobadilla said. “I couldn’t hold him because he was naked and he kept slipping away.”
At that point, a friend ― later identified as Gomez ― came to the customer’s defense. Bobadilla said the two men refused to leave, and alleged that Gomez attacked him.
“Suddenly he was trying to fight me. He was choking me,” the bouncer said. “I had to defend myself.”
Gomez allegedly returned to the bar with a baseball bat, damaging the window and neon sign.
The incident left Stonewall with about $6,800 worth of damage, according to ABC 7. When the bar reopened for business Saturday afternoon, both the window and the neon sign had been repaired.
Gomez’s mother, who has declined to give her name to the media, said in a separate interview with the New York Daily News that he son was “a quiet boy” who claims the bouncer was “messing with one of his co-workers.”