Trans Teen Pulled By Cops Into Unmarked Van In New York Released From Prison
A trans teen who was dragged into an unmarked police van by plainclothes officers during a New York City Black Lives Matter protest has now been released.
The footage of Nikki Stone’s arrest went viral yesterday, July 29, after plainclothes NYPD officers picked her up and shoved her into the vehicle, before being whisked away from the east Manhattan area.
The 18-year-old has since been released with a desk appearance ticket and a few scrapes on her knees, charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti and possession of a graffiti instrument for five separate incidents. Amid Portland’s plague of excessive force on protesters, officials have criticised the conduct of the arrest.
One onlooking protester told ABC7: ‘They grab her off of the street as she’s skateboarding, don’t even put handcuffs on her, and throw her into an unmarked vehicle. None of the people are wearing badges. That’s just terrorism.’
Authorities have defended the arrest, with Chief Terence Monahan explaining that Nikki allegedly egged other protesters on as she cursed at the officers, who only decided to take her into custody after she followed them. The warrant squad is also designed to catch suspects off-guard.
Stone also reportedly painted over four NYPD cameras monitoring the Occupy City Hall protest.
On Twitter, the NYPD wrote: ‘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 arresting officers were assaulted with rocks & bottles.’
While warning that people who damage property will face consequences, Mayor Bill de Blasio said: ‘This is not Portland. Anything that even slightly 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.’
Governor Andrew Cuomo also commented on the incident, saying: ‘I felt it was very disturbing to me. I’m surprised, especially at this time, that the NYPD would take such an obnoxious action, it was wholly insensitive of everything that’s going on.’
Sharing the video on Twitter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also wrote: ‘Our civil liberties are on the brink. This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans. To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism.’
Following Stone’s arrest, a GoFundMe page was set up to help her find stable housing, which has already raised more than $37,000.
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