New York City police have come under criticism after a viral video showing officers, including some in plainclothes, were seen arresting a protester and taking her away in an unmarked van as protest continued across the country.
Videos of the arrest have circulated on social media, attracting scrutiny from politicians and civil rights groups.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans,” connecting these actions to authoritarianism.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) similarly drew attention to the video, saying, “Law enforcement must be held accountable.”
The New York Police Department (NYPD) responded saying, “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.”
This arrest comes after reported unmarked van arrests in Portland, where the governor has announced federal agents will begin to withdraw from the city. Despite this announcement, President Trump has said federal agents are “not leaving until they secure their city.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio of New York City said the NYPD’s arrest was, “the wrong time and the wrong place,” given the current climate. “A lot of us have been watching in pain what’s going on in Portland, Oregon,” he said. “Anything that even slightly suggests that is, to me, troubling, and it’s the kind of thing we don’t want to see in this city.”