What I learned is that the police were arresting people for whom there were outstanding warrants. Each police precinct in New York has a special squad of plainclothes detectives who do this; the point of not wearing uniforms or driving police cruisers is so they can get closer to their targets before they are recognized. (Although you have to wonder about the savvy of criminals who can't spot a vanful of plainclothes cops coming a mile away.)
So that's at least defensible. But who, exactly, have they been arresting out of peaceful protests? People who have pissed them off:
The men in the van, it turns out, were plainclothes officers from the New York Police Department’s Warrant Squad, and they were detaining a young woman who was later identified as Nikki Stone, an 18-year-old homeless trans girl. An NYPD spokesperson, Sergeant Jessica McRorie, told Vox, “The NYPD had probable cause to arrest her for five previous crimes,” which included allegations of vandalizing police cameras with stickers and paint around City Hall Park in Manhattan.
I mean, I have no problem with the police arresting criminals. But these Warrant Squads were set up to arrest the most violent and dangerous crooks, and these days they spend their time hunting down people who put stickers on police cameras.
When there are what, fifty unsolved murders in New York already this year? No wonder crime has gone up.
Not only that, but their spokesman insisted to reporters that the officers were pelted with rocks and bottles while they made this arrest, when there were like twenty people filming the whole thing, including the complete absence of flying rocks and bottles.
Every time I want to defend the police as people trying to do a hard job they pull another stupid stunt like this.