A video of plainclothes NYPD cops forcing a protester into an unmarked van in Manhattan on Tuesday shocked Gov. Cuomo so much that he initially thought the Trump administration was to blame.
“It was so outrageous, I thought it was a federal action,” Cuomo told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. “It looked like something that would happen in Portland, Oregon.”
The video, which spread like wildfire on social media overnight Tuesday, showed a group of undercover NYPD officers in tactical vests grabbing 18-year-old Nikki Stone off the street during a Black Lives Matter march in Kips Bay and throwing her into an unmarked gray van before speeding off.
The NYPD said Stone was wanted for damaging police cameras during five separate incidents in and around City Hall Park. She has been charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti and possession of a graffiti instrument, police said.
But Cuomo questioned why the NYPD would use such brusque tactics against an unarmed teenager, especially given widespread outrage over federal law enforcement officers pulling off similar arrests in Portland as part of the Trump administration’s aggressive crackdown on protests in the Oregon city.
“I’m surprised that, especially at this time, the NYPD would take such an obnoxious action. It was wholly insensitive to everything that’s going on. It was frightening,” the governor said.
Cuomo called Stone’s dramatic arrest “emblematic of a larger problem.”
“We have to repair the relationship between the police and the community,” he said. “This is not going to be fixed by a press release.”
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