A popular video of an unmarked Kia minivan stopping near a protest against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) shows a group of plainclothes officers using physical force to push a protester down to the pavement and shoving her into the unmarked car.
The protester, named Nikki Stone is an eighteen-year-old transgender woman who was peacefully protesting against the NYPD. She was physically assaulted by officers as about 200 people were leaving a small plaza during a demonstration against police brutality. As protestors rushed to record the violence and help her, several officers arrived on bicycles, pushing the crowd away from the vehicle. Protestors at the scene described the incident as a “kidnapping.” Stone has since been released from police custody, facing multiple charges.
Late Tuesday, the NYPD confirmed that officers had arrested a protestor and moved her into an unmarked van. They claimed that she had been taken into custody for damaging police cameras around City Hall Park.
“The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects,” NYPD said. “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.”
This behavior and violence perpetrated by the NYPD was eerily similar to the extremely violent tactics seen in Portland, Oregon. Earlier this month, reports claimed that in Portland, protesters were being “detained and placed into unmarked vans,” according to The Hill.
Although the NYPD claimed that they were “assaulted with rocks and bottles,” videos and protesters told different stories. Clara Krabber, a 20-year-old Oxford student who was at the protest said “we literally turned the corner and were met with a line of police who attacked us without warning.”
Stone is currently experiencing houselessness, please donate to her housing here.