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29 Jul, 2020 05:12

NYPD weighs in on viral protester ‘kidnapping’ video, says arrestee suspected of vandalizing cop cameras

NYPD weighs in on viral protester ‘kidnapping’ video, says arrestee suspected of vandalizing cop cameras

The New York Police Department has addressed a viral video clip showing officers forcing an activist into an unmarked vehicle, insisting the protester was suspected of vandalism as critics deemed the arrest a lawless “kidnapping.”

In footage that circulated on social media on Tuesday, plainclothes officers were seen cramming a woman into the back of an unmarked van as a crowd of angry demonstrators looks on in shock, with uniformed police swooping in to secure the area as the vehicle leaves the scene. The video has driven a wave of criticism directed at the NYPD, with many claiming the woman was ‘kidnapped in broad daylight’ or ‘disappeared’ in a manner more fitting for an authoritarian regime.

The NYPD, however, has weighed in on the incident in a string of tweets, stating the woman in the video was “wanted for damaging police cameras during five separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park,” also explaining that the department’s “Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects” and that clearly uniformed officers were present for the arrest.

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.

Though the police also claimed that “the arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles” while bringing the woman into custody, footage of the incident does not appear to back up that account, as the plainclothes officers can be seen leaving the area in a van with no projectiles thrown. The footage cuts off with other uniformed police still on the scene, however.

The department’s explanation has done little to quell the criticism, with detractors maintaining the arrest was, in fact, a “kidnapping,” some demanding consequences for the officers.

“This is INSANITY! Dragging people off the street and threatening others! Where was that person taken! Are they afforded their Miranda rights? A phone call?! WTF!” one commenter asked in exasperation.

Skeptics offered some pushback, however, arguing that police make similar kinds of arrests regularly when pursuing those with warrants or other wanted suspects.

Similar complaints alleging questionable arrests by unmarked officers have also emerged from Portland in recent weeks, where a number of federal agencies have been deployed to manage ongoing demonstrations against police brutality. The protests have frequently escalated to violence, seeing regular clashes between activists and law enforcement, and have continued for some two months straight. Federal police deployed in the city say their presence is needed to bring the demonstrations under control, and have defended their tactics as legal and appropriate, however that has hardly calmed tensions, as the protests rage on and appear to have no end in sight.

Also on rt.com UN human rights office condemns ‘arbitrary arrests & unnecessary use of force’ amid US police brutality protests

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