New York — Police and protesters clashed in the streets of New York City on Tuesday after an arrest that some say looked more like a kidnapping. As reported by CBS New York, video of the arrest posted to social media is sparking outrage.
Brooklyn resident Mike Laster has beenin May. He says Tuesday night a large group had peacefully set up to march and feed the homeless in a park at Second Avenue and 25th Street in Kips Bay when police on bikes showed up and things got out of hand.
“They grabbed a transgender woman and they threw her down,” Laster said. “I tried to separate myself from an officer and the protest and he threw his bike on me… I got cuts all up on my hands and stuff.”
Between the men in plainclothes and the unmarked van, Laster and others say it looked like a kidnapping.
But the NYPD says the woman they arrested, 18-year-old Nikki Stone, was wanted for spray-painting the lenses of six police cameras during separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park, saying this squad uses unmarked vehicles to find wanted suspects.
They also say the arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles. The police say seven officers were injured overall on Tuesday, with four taken to a local hospital and three treated on scene.
“If you introduce violence to us, we got to reciprocate that violence,” Laster said.
Police say as the night went on, protesters blocked traffic. They took about a dozen people into custody.
In the midst of the screaming during the tense stand-off, you can hear people insisting they were never violent, saying, “We were peaceful.”
Others shouted profanities at police, even daring them to douse them with pepper spray.
As for the arrest video, it’s not going away quietly.
The City Council speaker and public advocate are disturbed and concerned, both calling for answers.
Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet that the video of a “protester in New York City being thrown in an unmarked van — is terrifying and should be unacceptable to everyone who respects the constitutional rights this country was founded on.”
He called for, “an immediate explanation for this anonymous use of force.”
LGBTQ rights organization the Human Rights Campaign called the video “deeply troubling,” and demanded New York authorities explain Stone’s whereabouts.