NYPD Detain Teen Activist in Unmarked Van

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Unsettling video footage reveals that the NYPD used an unmarked Kia minivan to arrest a teen protester.

On Tuesday, July 28th, ironically amidst a police brutality protest in Manhattan, several plainclothes NYPD officers used an unmarked vehicle to make an arrest. The detainee, a zealous 18-year-old trans femme protester Nikki Stone, was arrested for vandalism. Allegedly, the impassioned teen damaged police cameras near City Hall. However, any criminal accusations against Stone have been overshadowed by the seemingly inappropriate and unethical actions by the New York Police Department.

Deeply disturbing video footage surfaced showing several NYPD officers, disguised as run-of-the-mill civilians, forcing Stone into an unmarked van. Witnesses likened the incident to a “kidnapping.” The video quickly went viral and fueled fierce backlash from the public.

Many individuals were quick to highlight the uncanny parallels between this incident and recent events in Portland, Oregon. Various federal agents in Portland, Oregon have been chided for employing widely condemned tactics to arrest peaceful protesters. 

High-profile individuals have harshly criticized the NYPD’s actions and continue to demand answers. On Wednesday, July 29th, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio censured the city’s police force. De Blasio (D) noted that their deeply controversial behavior not only undermined democratic systems, but it also violated an individual’s basic civil liberties. De Blasio noted, “A lot of us have watched in pain what’s been going on in Portland, Oregon, and the fact that you see federal agents, federal officers, federal troops, clearly doing inappropriate things meant to undermine our democratic process. That’s just thoroughly unacceptable…This is not Portland.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also commented on the incident, “Our civil liberties are on brink. This is not a drill.” Ocasio-Cortez firmly stated that “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.”

Following the incident, the NYPD maintained that the arrest was aboveboard. Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison shared a video depicting a female protester spray painting security cameras. The video clip was relatively unclear and the NYPD could not confirm whether the female featured in the clip was in fact Stone. 

This incident is further nurturing a culture of fear and skepticism. Many members of the public are stepping forward to condemn the actions of the police. Local law enforcement entities expected to promote security and safety are arguably perpetuating alarm and apprehension. We anxiously await additional answers from the NYPD.