Last week’s arrest of Nikki Stone, wanted for alleged serial vandalism of police cameras, was a case in point. The 18-year-old homeless woman was marching in a “peaceful,” though non-permitted, march down Second Avenue when plainclothes NYPD officers arrested her and put her in an unmarked van.
Stone had been filmed on multiple occasions painting over NYPD security cameras around City Hall Park during the last month’s occupation. Her alleged actions suggest a flagrant lawlessness and enmity against the public good.
Yet Stone became a cause celebre, with supporters claiming she had been “disappeared,” as if by a right-wing regime in Latin America circa 1982. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.” Cable host Chris Hayes called it “kidnapping.”
The City Council’s Progressive Caucus claimed that “this arrest was a tactic meant to intimidate protesters and discourage civil disobedience.” Lawmakers accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of failing to hold “the NYPD accountable for the brutality unleashed on those exercising” fundamental rights.