The NYPD has come under fire for how it handled the arrest of an 18-year-old protestor on Tuesday, now that viral video of the aggressive incident has surfaced online showing plainclothes officers forcing her into an unmarked van — a tactic recently employed by federal officers detaining demonstrators in Portland, Oregon.
According to the NYPD, Nikki Stone, a trans woman from the Lower East Side, was arrested on Tuesday for an alleged rash of vandalism incidents.
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After spending Tuesday night in custody, Stone was released with an appearance ticket Wednesday.
Stone has been charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument for her alleged involvement in five incidents including the destruction of police cameras.
In the footage shared online, Stone is forcibly detained by officers out of uniform, who pull her from her skateboard and whisk her away after shoving her into an unmarked minivan.
As Stone is being detained, other protestors close in on the officers. Several uniformed cops hoist their bikes, forming a barrier around the vehicle.
A statement from the NYPD alleges that Stone was “wanted for damaging police cameras during five separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park,” and notes that the “arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles.”
Stone suffered scrapes to her knees during the arrest.
“When officers from the Warrant Squad took the woman into custody in a gray NYPD minivan this evening, they were assaulted with rocks and bottles,” the NYPD statement continues. “The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects. 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.”
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Brooklyn-based artist Carly O’Neil said Stone is her daughter, and noted she’s “doing well and we appreciate all the concern.”
O’Neil’s tweets also allege that Stone was “physically accosted by the arresting officers, which included several punches to the face as she started to panic and exhibited that anxiety in the moment.”
The officers, she said, refused to call Stone by her female name, instead using her male birth name.
“While in the van, none of the officers wore a mask,” O’Neil continues, noting her daughter lives a transient lifestyle. “She experienced inhumane treatment as the officers yelled insults like, ‘Act like a normal f–king human being and not some animal.’”
One protestor who witnessed the arrest told WABC-TV that “none of the [arresting officers were] wearing badges. That’s just terrorism.”
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New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the arrest Wednesday, saying the police could have handled the arrest differently.
“This is not Portland,” de Blasio said. “Anything that even slightly that even suggests that is troubling … That was not the time and place to effectuate the arrest. Given this atmosphere we’re dealing with in the country, it just didn’t make sense.”
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help Stone find housing.