Protesters in Gotham and other cities around the nation are so used to getting their way, they’ve been spoiled. Their illegal occupation of our streets and parks has become so routine that the protesting class throws tantrums when it faces consequences, however rarely that happens.
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.
Back in the real world, plainclothes officers with unmarked cars arrest wanted suspects like Stone every day, because it is the most effective way to approach them without tipping them off and letting them escape. It is only “kidnapping” if one believes that law enforcement, operating with judicial warrants, has no authority to bring criminals to court.
Moreover, the progressive councilmembers radically confuse “civil disobedience” and “First Amendment rights.”
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images