A video captured and shared over social media on Tuesday shows two New York City’s police officers in khaki shorts and dark T-shirts who are seen loading a suspect into an unmarked minivan during an arrest.
The video immediately raised concerns as the tactic attributed in the video was similar to those used by federal agents during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon this month.
Several questions were raised and the New York police quickly replied to all of them saying that the use of unmarked minivan was customary for that kind of operation and no federal authorities were involved in it.
Lt. John Gimpel said, “The warrant squad is not going to use a marked vehicle to arrest individuals.” Though no one knows what happened before the video was recorded. In the video, uniformed NYPD officers on bicycles can also be seen assisting the arresting officers with crowd control.
Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell said by email that “The target was wanted for damaging police cameras during five separate criminal incidents in and around the City Hall Park. The arresting officers were assaulted with rocks and bottles.”
While the critics on social media raised concerns and the New York Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter that “This is horrifying and indefensible.
We are looking into the incident that happened tonight, but one thing is for certain: violently forcing protestors into an unmarked van are the actions of the police forces that think they can act with impunity. We won’t allow this in our city.”