The protester has been released, but the NYPD has gotten heavy criticism for unidentified officers making a violent arrest with an unmarked car
Videos of plainclothes officers grabbing protesters off the streets continue to surface as racial justice protests enter their third month.
The most recent video to go viral shows NYPD plainclothes officers grabbing a protester off the street in Manhattan and putting them in an unmarked Kia minivan. Posted by bystanders, the videos bear a striking resemblance to similar incidents caught on tape in Portland, Oregon where demonstrators have repeatedly clashed with police and federal officers.
On Wednesday Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced that federal officers will be leaving Portland since demonstrations have become increasingly disruptive. In a tweet she said that officers presence have been an “occupying force” and “brought violence.”
The video has been viewed more than 7 million times on Twitter. In it viewers can see multiple men jump out of the minivan and grab a protester identified as Nikki Stone, an 18-year-old who was demonstrating with a group walking down New York’s 2nd Avenue. As Stone was being taken away, other protesters were held back by bike police who showed up after Stone was in the van.
The NYPD issued a statement Tuesday saying Stone was wanted for damaging police cameras around the city and was taken into custody. They also claim that when officers arrested Stone some were assaulted with rocks and bottles, although there is no evidence of that in the video above.
“The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects,” NYPD wrote in a tweet. “When she was placed into the Warrant Squad’s unmarked gray minivan, it was behind a cordon of NYPD bicycle cops in bright yellow and blue uniform shirts there to help effect the arrest.”
After being held for five hours, Stone was released from custody early Wednesday morning after receiving a desk appearance ticket, according to ABC7.
Although officers may be legally allowed to make plainclothes arrests, advocacy groups and elected officials have criticized the NYPD’s conduct. Following Stone’s release, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that the way the NYPD arrested her was inappropriate.
“These dangerous, abusive and indefensible actions must stop. Law enforcement must be held accountable,” they wrote.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also called out the arrest on Twitter saying, “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.”