The White Night Riots were a serious of violent riots that resulted from the announcement that Dan White, the former city supervisor who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk, was convincted of manslaughter with a seven year sentence as opposed to murder. The riots occurred on May 21, 1979 in San Francisco.
The events began as a peaceful march through the Castro district, but it escalated into violence when the crowd arrived at City Hall. The resulting riots cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage to City Hall and the nearby area, as well as injuries to police officers and rioters alike. After the riot was broken up, the San Francisco Police Department launched a retaliatory raid on a gay bar in the Castro district, resulting in the beatings of a number of patrons by riot police. Two dozen people were arrested, and several patrons in turn sued the police.
In the aftermath of the events, LGBT leaders refused to apologize for the night's riots. The LGBT community experienced an increase in political power afterward, which ultimately led to Mayor Dianne Feinstein, who succeeded Mayor Moscone after his death, being elected to a full term. Feinstein had promised to appoint a pro-gay police chief, a promise she fulfilled once in her full term.
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