The New York Police Department’s reputation is already in shambles as their police union continues to defend senseless violence and murders. But the abduction of a transgender teenager has drawn even more scrutiny to the department’s heavy-handed and potentially illegal methods.
Nikki Stone, 18, was skateboarding down the street as part of a Black Live Matter march when plainclothes officers jumped out and pushed her into an unmarked gray van before driving away. Police later said she was suspected of vandalism.
As other protestors started to react, NYPD officers swarmed in, using bicycles as barricades and brandishing pepper spray and batons, the cops pushed citizens back so they could abscond with the young woman.
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Another angle of plainclothes officers pushing a protester into a minivan on 2nd Ave near 25th earlier tonight. "We were skateboarding and eating pizza," said one witness. "We didn't see where they came from. All of a sudden they grabbed Nicki. It was like a kidnapping." pic.twitter.com/rzymNjlVVo
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) July 29, 2020
In a tweet sent after videos of the abduction went viral, the NYPD responded on Twitter to try to justify their aggressive actions for a victimless crime.
“In regard to a video on social media that took place at 2 Ave & 25 St, a woman taken into custody in an unmarked van was wanted for damaging police cameras during 5 separate criminal incidents in & around City Hall Park,” the department tweeted. “The arresting officers were assaulted with rocks & bottles.”
Multiple videos, however, do not corroborate the story.
An unmarked van just snatched up a protester on 25th & 2nd and NYPD started attacking us!!!!! pic.twitter.com/n4zNALajkN
— Lauren (@feistymexarican) July 28, 2020
After being taken by the secret police at 6 p.m., Stone was released early this morning. She has been charged with graffiti and criminal mischief.
“This protester was released from custody this morning,” New York City City Council President Corey Johnson tweeted. “It is totally unacceptable that an arrest for minor property crimes was carried out in such an aggressive and disturbing manner.”
“Incredibly disturbing. We need answers.”