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'Incredibly disturbing': Video shows NYPD pull woman into unmarked minivan at Manhattan protest

Video appears to show person pulled into an unmarked minivan at Manhattan protest.png
Posted at 8:14 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 09:13:02-04

KIPS BAY, Manhattan — Police pulled an 18-year-old woman into an unmarked minivan as NYPD officers kept protesters away from the vehicle in Manhattan on Tuesday night.

Video shows only one person taken into the minivan, but several people were arrested at the protest near East 25th Street and Second Avenue. One video shows a man in an orange shirt with "Warrant Squad" written across the back get into the front passenger seat before the minivan drives off.

That woman was taken into custody because she allegedly damaged police cameras during five separate incidents in and around City Hall Park, NYPD officials said. Police said the arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles.

Police charged the woman with criminal mischief and released with a desk appearance ticket. The NYPD identified her as Nicholas Stone, but friends said the teen — a transgender woman — went by Nikki.

The Human Rights Campaign called the video of her arrest "deeply disturbing."

"Plainclothes NYPD officers yanked a protester off the street — identified by her friends as an 18-year old homeless trans person," the Human Rights Campaign tweeted. "Where is she?"

The NYPD has been using unmarked vehicles for decades, a spokesman said.

"The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects," the NYPD tweeted.

NYPD Assistant Chief Judith Harrison told PIX11's Dan Mannarino Wednesday that there is now an active investigation around the controversial arrest.

She said NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison is leading the investigation and will "make a determination as to whether or not it was lawful, and whether or not there needs to be any type of disciplinary action."

The NYPD said early Monday that 11 other arrests were made; 10 men and 1 woman. All were charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.

One of the men was also charged with assault on a police officer for allegedly biting an officer's hand, officials said.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the video of the woman's arrest "incredibly disturbing" and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he was looking into it.

"Concerned about what we are seeing in this video," he tweeted.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter wrote there was no excuse for what had happened.

"It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism," she added.

Lawmakers throughout the city called for answers. Councilman Carlos Menchaca told New Yorkers to keep recording police officers.

"This cannot be tolerated," he tweeted. "This is a terrifying display of unaccountable power. Who is next?"

An NYPD official initially said they couldn't share any additional information to PIX11 News for security reasons for the officers.

PIX11 reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office for comment. A spokeswoman responded with links to tweets from the NYPD.