New York State police, several in civilian clothes, slipped into a demonstration Tuesday against aggressive police tactics and arrested protesters who appeared to have been dragged into a duty-free minivan before leaving.
The video of the meeting drew strong criticism on social media, including allegations that New York City police used tactics similar to those used by federal agents during recent protests in Portland, Oregon, where some people were dragged into unnoticed vans.
A statement from the police department said that the woman had been taken into custody by law enforcement officers in connection with “damage to police cameras during five separate criminal incidents in and around City Hall Park”;, an obvious reference to incidents during the Occupy protests. City Hall. Police did not immediately provide details about the cases. The arrest took place on Second Avenue and 25th East Street in the Kips Bay area of Manhattan, according to the police department.
Police said the unit usually uses unmarked vehicles to search for wanted people. Police did not name the woman, but said charges against her were ongoing.
Although police said they followed standard procedures, the incident occurred while law enforcement practitioners were under close surveillance. Several city officials said Tuesday that they were concerned about videos of the woman’s arrest and publicly demanded a fuller explanation from the police department.
Cryo Johnson, the city council speaker, called the video of the meeting “incredibly disturbing.” Scott M. Stringer, the governor of New York, said he was “deeply concerned.”
Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn said that “with concern about what is happening in Portland, the NYPD is deploying unmarked vans with plainclothes police to make street arrests of protesters more like a provocation than public safety.”
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio referred the issue of the woman’s arrest Tuesday night to a statement from the police department.
Tuesday’s arrest was the latest outbreak of nationwide talk of aggressive police tactics. In the weeks following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, people staged protests across the city against police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system.
Tuesday’s protest, during which a woman was arrested, was in response to the clearing of the city hall’s occupation camp last week, organizers said.
The municipality’s demonstration itself, which began on June 23, when about 100 people set up camp on small grass east of City Hall, aimed to put pressure on the city council to cut funding for the police department.
Most of the people at the demonstration returned home within days of the Rada finally deciding to defer nearly a billion dollars from the police, although the move did not live up to the expectations of many protesters. Homeless people then came to the site to get free food and an open-air outdoor campsite before the camp was cleared last week.
Tactics used by federal agents in Portland have sparked renewed protests across the country. Some agents, disguised in camouflage and tactics, sprayed tear gas on protesters and dragged others into unmarked vans.
Juliana Kim contributed to the reporting.