Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images
A video Tuesday showed NYPD officers shoving a woman in an unmarked van during a Black Lives Matter protest, sparking concern on social media.
The woman, 18-year-old Nikki Stone, was charged with several counts related to alleged vandalism and released early Wednesday, The New York Post reported.
The tactic is reminiscent of federal agents in Portland, Oregon. Critics, like Navy veteran Christopher David, worry that the tactic could be exploited by right-wing extremists posing as law enforcement.
"The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects," the NYPD tweeted.
A woman who was shoved into an unmarked van by plain-clothed New York Police department officers has been released from police custody and faces multiple charges.
The woman, 18-year-old Nikki Stone, was attending a Black Lives Matter protest in New York City on Tuesday when the officers grabbed her, pushed her to the ground, and then moved her to the van. A video of the incident trended on social media, bringing widespread attention to the arrest.
According to The New York Post, Stone was released early Wednesday and faces charges related to vandalism accusations that include several counts of criminal mischief and other charges related to four incidents between June 19 and July 6.
She was apprehended during the protests at around 6 p.m. Tuesday on suspicion of destroying several police cameras on at City Hall Park on June 30, according to the report.
—NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 29, 2020
"The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects," the NYPD tweeted. A spokesperson for the agency told Pix 11 the police force had been using unmarked vehicles for "decades."
As she exited the 1st Precinct station house, Stone was greeted with around a dozen Black Lives Matter demonstrators, according to the New York Post.
In video posted by journalist Michelle Hooq, men can be seen grabbing Stone off the streets of Manhattan and putting her in a van with New York plates but no other markings. Police on bikes then provide perimeter security as an angry crowd attempts to intercede.
—michelle lh࿊࿊q (@MichelleLhooq) July 28, 2020
The New York Police Department confirmed the arrest in a statement to Business Insider.
"A woman taken into custody was wanted for damaging police cameras during five separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park," Sergeant Mary Frances O'Donnell said Tuesday.
O'Donnell additionally claimed that "arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles." Videos of the incident shared on social media do not show rocks; a water bottle is seen rolling on the ground stopping short of police officers. The videos do not show what happened after the protesters were pushed back by the officers on bikes.
—Natalie (@Naddleez) July 28, 2020
Witnesses told Gothamist that Stone's arrest — during a protest against the NYPD — came as a surprise.
"Four guys jumped out and a line of police bicycles came out from down the block — we hadn't seen them," one eyewitness told Gothamist. "They pushed us back. They grabbed Nicki like she was a rag doll.... They had her arms on her neck and then they drove off."
New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera said she had been "working to get details on why a young woman was arrested [and] pulled into an unmarked van in my district." She said the woman had been fingerprinted and that she would likely be released by midnight local time.
Jumaane Williams, New York City's elected public advocate, said he was also trying "to get some answers" about the arrest. "Concerned about what we are seeing in this video," he tweeted.
The NYPD's use of an unmarked van is reminiscent of recent arrests in Portland, Oregon, by federal agents. Critics, like Navy veteran Christopher David, worry that the tactic could be exploited by right-wing extremists posing as law enforcement.
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