AOC Says U.S. Rights 'On Brink' as Cops Force Woman Into Van: 'This Is Not a Drill'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday warned that Americans' "civil liberties are on brink" after video emerged of a protester in New York being forced into an unmarked van by police.

In the video, which was posted to Twitter by the American Civil Liberties Union, a protester who has since been identified as 18-year-old trans woman Nikki Stone, can be seen being forced into a van by plainclothes officers during a demonstration on Second Avenue and 25th Street in Kips Bay on Tuesday.

Protesters crowd around the vehicle demanding to know where police are taking Stone, as officers in uniform arrive on the scene and tell demonstrators to "get back."

In a statement shared with Newsweek, the NYPD confirmed it had arrested Stone.

The NYPD said Stone had been charged with "criminal mischief and making graffiti for 5 incidents ranging from June through July."

Sharing video of the incident, which had been posted on Twitter by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ocasio-Cortez said: "Our civil liberties are on brink."

"This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans," the New York representative said.

"To not protect our rights is to give them away," she said, adding: "It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism."

Our civil liberties are on brink.

This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.

To not protect our rights is to give them away. It is our responsibility to resist authoritarianism. https://t.co/pw20WF05KK

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 29, 2020

Ocasio-Cortez's warning came as tens of thousands of people tweeted out the hashtag "#WhereIsNikki" demanding to know what had happened to the protesters.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Carlina Rivera, Councilwoman for the 2nd district of the New York City Council, announced that Stone had been released from police custody.

"We've just received confirmation that Nikki has been released," Rivera tweeted. "Thank you to all the advocates who have been bringing support and attention."

Concern over the incident was far from over, however, Rivera said, demanding to know what New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was going to do about it.

"Now it's time to hear from @NYCMayor [Bill de Blasio] about how he will address this arrest and the future of unidentifiable policing in NYC," the councilwoman wrote.

Many outraged over the incident accused police of "kidnapping" Stone, with parallels drawn to scenes unfolding in Portland, Oregon, where federal officers have sparked outrage after being seen forcing protesters into unmarked vans in similar arrests.

Newsweek has contacted Mayor Bill de Blasio's office.

AOC
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) campaigns on June 23, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Ocasio-Cortez has warned that 'civil liberties' are at risk after the arrest of Nikki Stone. Stephanie Keith/Getty