During a peaceful march on Tuesday evening in New York City, an unmarked Kia minivan pulled up alongside protesters before random men in NYPD T-shirts, khaki shorts, and sneakers jumped out to grab 18-year-old Nikki Stone, dragging her into the van.
The protestors went mad, charging the white van, trying to rescue the girl. One bystander yelling, “What the f— is wrong with you pigs?”
Video of the incident went viral, racking up over a million views.
nypd is out here KIDNAPPING protesters off of the street pic.twitter.com/LCCBj0Ipp8
— Natalie (@Naddleez) July 28, 2020
AOC went off. The New York congresswoman tweeted, “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.”
She’s right: Unmarked cars, clandestine arrests, nameless officers—oh, my! 2020 has taken a hard left (or right), and it’s all very sketchy.
Who Had Clandestine Cops On Their 2020 Dystopia Bingo Card?
Clandestine state law dogs and federal tactical teams have been targeting protesters in major cities, seizing people and using force without identification or markings. Portland has taken center stage, as videos of shadow officers striking, grabbing, and gassing citizens have gained national attention.
These covert acts by law enforcement raise a host of issues that impact your constitutional rights—primarily the Fourth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions says you have the right not to be searched or seized by law enforcement unless they have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. This requires more than a hunch or suspicion. Probable cause is about having articulable facts.
Basically, the Fourth Amendment means five-O needs concrete info to justify ransacking your stuff or hauling you away in handcuffs. Boundaries aren’t just the cornerstone of mature relationships, but also a functioning democracy. (Quote me on that.)
This has been the law for centuries. But even though the agents know the law, they may not always abide by it. Law enforcement is usually backed by the powers that be, so they rarely suffer any consequences for violating your rights.
In his spirited testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General William P. Barr (the nation’s top cop) agreed that your Fourth Amendment rights must be protected—but he also made clear that he’s not backing down from sending agents into cities to aggressively police protesters.
You may be seeing more law enforcement soon. In fact, since sending agents into Kansas City and Portland in early July, the Trump Administration announced last week that it was dispatching officers into other major cities, claiming that federal troops are necessary to combat “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.”
Sounds scary, right? Fortunately, criminologists confirm that we shouldn’t be sounding the alarm, as crime isn’t a big issue.
Across the board, crime rates are lower than they were last year. This recent spike in crime is a product of governors lifting the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders—basically inviting people to return to their typical shenanigans, which unfortunately includes crime.
Don’t let the fear-mongering get you. Even though crime isn’t something you should necessarily be concerned about right now, it is imperative to protect your constitutional rights by continuing to protest.
“A lot of people got scared off of joining the march after cops grabbed protestors, but that’s exactly when people should gear up and join in,” says a 30-year-old writer who attended Tuesday’s march in Manhattan. The avid social justice warrior, who prefers to remain unnamed, noted, “You have to operate from a cautious optimism: prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”
Stone likely hoped for the best upon being seized Tuesday by the unmarked officers. After spending the night in police custody, Stone was told that the NYPD arrested her for allegedly destroying surveillance equipment. We’ll have to see how those charges play out in court.
In the meantime, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio indicates that he doesn’t want what happened in Portland to happen in his city, adding, “I think it was the wrong time and the wrong place to effectuate that arrest” of Ms. Stone.
Whether or not you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, know your rights and continue to unapologetically exercise them. No one needs the final stretch of 2020 to end with dystopia.
Images: Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Naddleez/Twitter
This week, Pepsi released the commercial for their new “Live For Now Moments Anthem” campaign (which is a fucking mouthful and what does it mean??), and to say people are unimpressed would be an understatement. In times like this, it seemed like there was nothing that could unite the American public, but Pepsi and Kendall Jenner have managed to do it by offending literally every single person with this bizarre ad. We’re going to break it down for you, but we recommend first watching the video in its entirety here. Do it now while you still can—we have a feeling it’s not going to be up for much longer.
Basically, the painfully long ad shows an off-brand Black Lives Matter march going down the street where Kendall Jenner happens to be doing a photoshoot. Because anyone who’s ever been to a protest knows that a closed-off street with hundreds to thousands of people crushed up against each other like sardines, marching along at a snail’s pace while chanting, is the perfect place to shoot some fashion ad.
I mean, this has got to be the weakest protest ever. “Join the conversation”? That’s not a call to action. That would be like if I showed up to the Women’s March like “Hey misogynistic men, can you guys kindly consider giving women equal rights and we can talk about bodily autonomy later? No? OK.”
Here we have Kendall, sporting a blonde wig and some Lala Kent hoops. The hoops are irrelevant but the wig will become important later.
^This is what democracy looks like!
Kendall sees this protest going on all of a sudden—because apparently she hasn’t checked social media in the past week to see all the Facebook event RSVPs, I guess—and gets this look in her eyes that says “What are all those poor people doing down there? Don’t they know inside is where the air conditioning is?”
BUT THEN it all changes when a semi-cute guy with a cello on his back locks eyes with Kendall and gives her The Nod. She rips off her wig, smears her lipstick (the ultimate “fuck you” to the patriarchy) and joins the protestors, while the photographers are like “Bitch WTF you have a job to do, we get paid by the hour.” Kendall doesn’t care, though—she’s got a movement to join!
She makes her way to the front and grabs a Pepsi on the way—because all protests come equipped with buckets of free Pepsi on ice—and greets a line of police officers with an ice-cold can of Pepsi.
And just like that, we solved the issue of police brutality, guys! Kendall turns back to the protestors, who are all cheering her on for her heroic act of bravery. And to think, all those policemen who killed unarmed people of color were just thirsty! Can we add that we all know that if there was one soda to unite us all, it would be Diet Coke? Anyway. Everybody is happy, and one of the police officers definitely thinks he’s gonna fuck Kendall later. You can tell because he turns to his police buddy and gives him the following look:
If that doesn’t say “I’m SO gonna hit that,” then I don’t know what does.
The whole plot of the commercial is very questionable, but for Pepsi to think someone like Kendall Jenner would be the right person to convey their pseudo-social justice message in the first place is more than a little alarming. Like, they could’ve easily used that cute Muslim girl with the head covering, but instead she was basically just Kendall’s adoring fan with a chunky video camera from the late 90s.
What’s really the most laughable, though, is that the face of this “movement,” Kendall Jenner, is a rich white reality TV star with a questionable blonde wig—sound like anyone we know? IRL Kendall is probably not mad about the tax breaks she’ll be getting as a super rich person, and she definitely has never had to worry about the police getting up in her business for no reason (let alone worrying about not making it out of that interaction alive… but OK yeah you’re right I’ll leave that part to Salon). In fact, the only “protest” she’s been spotted at was that one year when the Chanel show was protest themed. It’s v unclear how the people at Pepsi thought this would go over well, but someone is definitely gonna lose their job over this.
Bottom line? Kendall’s a cute girl, but she’s clearly not the one who should be starring in commercials that are supposed to make any sort of political statement. At least leave that to Shailene Woodley or something. And also Diet Coke is far superior to Pepsi and we’re very offended that Kendall would imply otherwise. That’s all.