Peaceful demonstrations by Castro’s gay community outside City Hall turned violent. 5,000 policemen responded by entering nightclubs armed with truncheons and assaulting patrons. 124 people were injured, including 59 policemen. The episode is known in history as “The White Night Riots”.
White served five years at Soledad State Prison and was released on parole on 6 January 1984. He lived undercover away from his family in Los Angeles for a year and then asked to return to San Francisco. New Mayor Dianne Feinstein issued a public statement asking him not to.
Ignoring her wishes he returned to a city where he wasn’t welcome. Dogged by fears of retaliation his marriage fell apart and he became increasingly depressed, eventually committing suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 39.