Viral NYPD Arrest Video Alarms Officials, Citizens Fearing Repeat Of Portland Federal Agent Tactics
Video captured by bystanders of plainclothes NYPD officers taking an 18-year-old woman into custody in an unmarked van set off alarm bells on social media Tuesday night, as both officials and citizens raised concerns that the arrest resembled ones conducted by federal agents in Portland, Oregon.
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In the video, which has been viewed over 8 million times, plainclothes officers are shown forcing the protester into the unmarked van in Manhattan on 25th St. and Second Ave., which NYPD bicycle cops in bright yellow and black uniforms surround to keep other protesters away.
The NYPD issued a statement on its Twitter account, saying the officers were from its Warrant Squad—which uses unmarked vehicles—and arresting Nikki Stone on charges of damaging police cameras around Manhattan’s City Hall Park.
Stone was released around 1 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to ABC’s New York affiliate, and met with cheers from fellow protesters.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx Democrat, retweeted the video and wrote, “our civil liberties are on [the] brink,” adding, “To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism.”
Other city officials pushed back, with Comptroller Scott Stringer saying “we need answers immediately,” while Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he was “concerned about what we’re seeing in this video.”
NBC anchor Chris Hayes described the incident as a “kidnapping,” a word also used by protesters at the scene interviewed in multiple news reports, but was met with disagreement from another NBC reporter, Tom Winter, saying it could be an “arrest with probable cause for someone wanted for 5 specific crimes.”
“We can’t let what is happening in Portland happen here,” wrote Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on Twitter. “Part of police accountability is ordinary citizens knowing who is policing them. When you can’t identify a vehicle taking someone, it causes alarm. Police can’t de-escalate situations if they don’t identify themselves.”
12. According to CBS’ New York City affiliate, NYPD made a dozen additional arrests of protesters following Stone’s, mostly for disorderly conduct. Seven police officers were injured during Tuesday night’s protest activity.
The deployment of federal agents to Portland, Oregon has sparked a national conversation over policing, protests, and the Trump administration’s use of the Department of Homeland Security. Nightly protests outside the city’s federal courthouse have turned violent, as protesters clash with agents, resulting in injuries. In New York City, protests following George Floyd’s Memorial Day killing have largely quieted down. Some amount of activity continues almost daily, however, and Tuesday’s protest proceeded to Madison Square Park, followed by Times Square.
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