Ocasio-Cortez demands accountability over viral video of unmarked NYPD 'snatching' protester

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) lambasted the New York Police Department (NYPD) early on Wednesday after the NYPD late on Tuesday confirmed that it had conducted an arrest of a protester in an unmarked van.

"This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans," Ocasio-Cortez wrote, retweeting a post from the American Civil Liberties Union that showed footage of the encounter.

The first-term congresswoman added: "To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism."


The NYPD confirmed the arrest in a series of tweets. According to police, the woman was arrested for allegedly damaging NYPD cameras on five separate occasions around City Hall Park.

“The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects,” NYPD said. “When she was placed into the Warrant Squad's unmarked gray minivan, it was behind a cordon of NYPD bicycle cops in bright yellow and blue uniform shirts there to help effect the arrest.”

During the arrest, officers were "assaulted with rocks and bottles," the department noted.


The arrest of the woman comes two weeks after reports surfaced in Portland, Ore., where federal agents have been deployed since late June, of federal officers, clad in unidentifiable military fatigues, picking up and detaining protesters in unmarked vans.

The reports, as well as the overall handling of protesters in recent months, have sparked outrage among many Democratic lawmakers. Black Lives Matter protests have been going on across the country since police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, a Black man, at the end of May.