The White Night riots were a series of violent events sparked by an announcement of the lenient sentencing of Dan White, for the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. The events took place on the night of May 21, 1979 (the night before what would have been Milk's 49th birthday) in San Francisco. Earlier that day, White had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the lightest possible conviction for his actions.  As absurd as it sounds, Dan White's denfense team claimed that because of his junk food diet and ingestion of twinkies, he was not of rational mind.

The gay community of San Francisco had a longstanding conflict with the San Francisco Police Department. White's status as a former police officer intensified the community's anger at the SFPD. Initial demonstrations took place as a peaceful march through the Castro district of San Francisco. After the crowd arrived at the San Francisco City Hall, violence began. The events caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property damage to City Hall and the surrounding area, as well as injuries to police officers and rioters.

Several hours after the riot had been broken up, police made a retaliatory raid on a gay bar in San Francisco's Castro District. Many patrons were beaten by police in riot gear. Two dozen arrests were made during the course of the raid, and several people later sued the SFPD.
After nearly three hours of shouts from the angry crowd, officers moved in to quell the riot. Police reportedly covered their badges with black tape—preventing any identification—and attacked rioters. Dozens of police officers swept into the crowd, using tear gas to force protesters away from the building. Police were surprised at the resistance they faced from the protesters, who attempted to push them back using tree branches, chrome torn off city buses, and asphalt ripped from the street, as weapons. As one man ignited the last police car he shouted to a reporter "Make sure you put in the paper that I ate too many Twinkies." Sixty officers were injured, and about two dozen arrests were made.

(dan white gets away with murder using the "twinkie defense")

The second stage of the violence was a police raid/riot hours later in the predominantly gay Castro neighborhood, which vandalized the Elephant Walk bar and injured many of its occupants.  After order was restored at City Hall, SFPD cars carrying dozens of officers headed into the Castro District. Officers entered a gay bar called the Elephant Walk, despite their orders not to do so. They shouted "dirty cock suckers" and "sick faggots", shattered the large plate glass windows of the bar, and attacked patrons. After 15 minutes police withdrew from the bar and joined other officers who were indiscriminately attacking gays on the street. The incident lasted nearly two hours.

When Police Chief Charles Gain heard about the unauthorized Elephant Walk raid, he immediately went to the location and ordered his men to leave. Later that night, freelance reporter Michael Weiss saw a group of police officers celebrating at a downtown bar. "We were at City Hall the day [the killings] happened and we were smiling then," one officer explained. "We were there tonight and we're still smiling."
At least 61 police officers and an estimated 100 members of the public were hospitalized in the course of the riot. civil grand jury convened to find out who ordered the attack, but it ended inconclusively with a settlement covering personal injury claims and damage
In the following days, gay leaders refused to apologize for the events of that night. This led to increased political power in the gay community, which culminated in the election of Mayor Dianne Feinstein to a full term, the following November. In response to a campaign promise, Feinstein appointed a pro-gay Chief of Police, which increased recruitment of gay people in the police force and eased tensions.
Deeply affected by the Milk/Moscone murders and the light sentence given to Dan White, Robert Oppel staged a  play entitled AMERICA BUSTED.
premireing on july 4th, 1979, the play had music, satire and costumes deploring the verdicts and the "twinkie defense."

He also did a parody mock trial called THE EXECUTION OF DAN WHITE
 depicting himself as Dan White asking the question~
"what would happen to a queer~gay~homosexual~pervert~cock sucker~faggot 
who shot and killed an ex-cop? would he get away with murder?" 
Two days later robert opel was murdered at his gallery~ FEY WAY.
View these original artworks and many more from ROBERT OPEL & FEY WAY STUDIOS 
circa 1978 & 79 @                   
                                                           ANTEBELLUM HOLLYWOOD.

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