A video showing a protester being shoved into an unmarked van was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday. The video sparked outrage online with many accusing the NYPD of kidnapping the protester who was seen being taken into an NYPD Warrants Squad by officers wearing t-shirts and shorts while uniformed officers kept the other protesters away.
The incident took place in the Kips Bay neighborhood of New York City where a group called Abolition Park was staging a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.
Video footage shows one officer detaining the woman, identified as 18-year-old Nikki Stone, before other officers spill out of the van and push her into the vehicle through the side-door as uniformed officers use their bicycles to surround the van in an attempt to keep protesters at bay before the van speeds off.
Attacked with Rocks and Bottles, Claims NYPD
In a statement posted on the NYPD Twitter account, the department said that Stone was wanted for damaging police cameras in five separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park and that the arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles.
"When officers from the Warrant Squad took the woman into custody in a gray NYPD minivan this evening, they were assaulted with rocks and bottles. The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects," the NYPD wrote in a follow-up tweet.
"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," the department added.
Social Media Calls Out NYPD 'Lies'
However, social media users were quick to point out that none of the officers were attacked with rocks or bottles as claimed by the police. "You should have left out the part about rocks and bottles because it's clearly disproved by video evidence," wrote Civil Rights attorney Rebecca Kavanagh.
"You're lying," tweeted another "As your tweet says there's VIDEO of the kidnapping. No bottled or rocks. We all know you're lying, because we all watched multiple videos of the kidnapping."
Some users pointed out that even if Stone was wanted for crimes she committed, there was no need for the police to just snatch a person off the street without reading them their rights. Meanwhile, others drew parallels to the similar controversial arrests made in Portland by law enforcement earlier this month.
Viral videos widely circulated on social media showed federal agents grabbing protesters off the streets and throwing them into unmarked SUVs without an explanation in Portland less than two weeks ago. Here's one of the clips: