Mayor says arrest of young female protester in Manhattan happened at ‘the wrong time and place’

Mayor Bill de Blasio | Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday that the arrest of a young woman during a protest Tuesday afternoon during which NYPD officers aggressively shoved her into the back on an unmarked van took place at “the wrong time and the wrong place.”

A video of the arrest shows officers dragging and shoving a person, later identified as 18-year-old Nikki Stone, into the back of gray minivan while fellow officers shout and rush towards onlooking protesters. Demonstrators were taking part in a march at “Abolition Park,” the plaza next to City Hall where activists set up encampments in late June to pressure the city into slashing $1 billion from the NYPD budget. 

NYPD’s force depicted in the viral video was shockingly similar to tactics used by federal agents in Portland, Oregon where offices have grabbed and placed protesters into unmarked vehicles. 

“First of all, a lot of us have watched in pain what has been going on in Portland and the fact that you see federal officers, federal troops clearly doing inappropriate things meant to undermine our democratic process. That’s just thoroughly unacceptable,” de Blasio said when questioned about the NYPD’s tactics. ” This is not Portland…So, I think it was the wrong time and the wrong place to effectuate that address.”

The NYPD issued a statement after the arrest on Tuesday stating that the woman was wanted for damaging police cameras during five different incidents and that the Warrant Squad uses unmarked vans to “effectively locate wanted suspects.” 

De Blasio followed the statement by defended the NYPD stating that it was the agency’s responsibility to follow up if someone has committed an offense and then warned demonstrators to take a lesson from recently deceased Congressman John Lewis and protest peacefully. 

“I want to affirm very clearly that no one is allowed to damage police property that is a real offense. That is an offense that can lead to an arrest and my message to everyone if you are out there protesting protest peacefully… there are lots of powerful ways to make an impact without damaging any property, it will lead to consequences. “