‘This is Kidnapping”: MSNBC Host and AOC Denounce Use Of Unmarked Van By NYPD In Arrest

500px-MSNBC_2015_logo.svg440px-Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez,_official_portrait,_116th_CongressWe have been discussing the controversy of the use of unmarked cars by federal officers to arrest people in Portland. As I have written, the use of unmarked cars and (even those these officers worn police markings) plain clothes is a common practice and not unconstitutional. Now an arrest by the NYPD using an unmarked carhas led to similar objections.  MSNBC host Chris Hayes even declared that the view below constitutes a “kidnapping.” It isn’t. It is not even illegal or improper to use an unmarked vehicle.  The basis for the arrest can be challenged but the rhetoric of the coverage is outstripping the reality of the law. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has declared the video to be evidence of an authoritarian takeover.

Hayes declared on Twitter “This is…kidnapping” after the posting of this video of plainclothes NYPD officers taking a woman into custody in an unmarked van on Manhattan’s East Side.

Hayes does not appear concerned over the violence against officers or the conditions leading to the use of an unmarked vehicle.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) agreed with Hayes’ view:

“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.”


This was not a “snatching.” It was an arrest using an unmarked van and police showed videotapes showing the women committing alleged crimes.


The NYPD sates that the officers were arresting a suspect in five crimes.  Moreover, it was clearly arrest with uniformed police also present at the scene.


The NYPD also indicated that this was an arrest being conducted in highly difficult circumstances. “In regard to a video on social media that took place at 2nd Ave & 25 Street, A woman taken into custody in an unmarked van was wanted for damaging police cameras during 5 separate criminal incidents in & around City Hall Park. The arresting officers were assaulted with rocks & bottles . . . When officers from the Warrant Squad took the woman into custody in a gray NYPD minivan this evening, they were assaulted with rocks and bottles. The Warrant Squad uses unmarked vehicles to effectively locate wanted suspects.”


Once again, I am deeply concerned with the hyperbolic and inaccurate coverage. While MSNBC has been quick (and often justified) in criticizing President Trump for inaccurate statements and fueling divisions, this is an example of how such rhetoric goes unchallenged by its own hosts and commentators.  The legal analysis and members of Congress on MSNBC and other networks has often advanced highly dubious theories of criminality against Trump or his Administration.

Claims that the use of unmarked cars is unlawful or constitutes kidnapping is the type of unhinged commentary that has fueled violence against officers. Hundreds of officers have been injured or killed since the start of these protests. Calling them kidnappers only give greater cover for rioters and groups like Antifa who are targeting officers.  The same is true when Speaker Nancy Pelosi called federal law enforcement in places like Portland “stormtroopers” or other politicians referring to them as “Gestapo” or “secret police.”

Such comments by figures like Hayes are no doubt popular but this hysteria will only fan the flames of further unrest. Indeed, while he may believe that these irresponsible comments will only undermine those with opposing views, history has shown that such unhinged rage is neither predictable more controllable.  Declarations of state kidnappings and authoritarian takeovers will be used a license for greater violence and rioting by extremist groups on both ends of the ideological spectrum.

126 thoughts on “‘This is Kidnapping”: MSNBC Host and AOC Denounce Use Of Unmarked Van By NYPD In Arrest”

  1. I guess the far left national, International and regressive liberals are running out of things to make themselves look more and more stupid and anti anti American anti Constitutional and pro Marxist Leninist. We really do need a way to run them out of the country. Amendment to that effect should be popular..

  2. The actions of apparent agents of Homeland Security may not be kidnapping, but the “arrests” are being done without probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime, as Prof. Turley well knows if he has been paying attention to what has been happening, rather than listening to talking heads on any network. I’ll be watching the litigation, rather than reading about nonsense that fails to adequately present the facts.

    1. the “arrests” are being done without probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime,

      And we have that on your authority. Thanks.

  3. Let’s just be clear – this is a major federal invasion of the most traditional area of state’s rights, the police power. Something you used to teach in con law until you became a mouthpiece of the extreme right.

    1. Uhh…Mr. Alabaster, sir {raises hand}

      I thought the NYPD was a city-level department. How does that implicate the federal constitution, or constitute a federal invasion of any size: major or minor? Is it possible that you are, wittingly or not, being a mouthpiece yourself?

    2. You fancy the federal government lacks the power to protect federal property? Have you notified the US Park Police of this insight?

    3. False, these are federal deputies protecting federal courthouse and the workers from an aggressive riotous mob which has scarred and damaged the federal building and conducted felonious assault and battery on the federal grounds.

      It is entirely within proper federal executive authority and a whole lot more could be done too.

    4. I like it when the New Confederates [same as the old- Democrats] come out howling for ‘States Rights’ again.

    5. Absolutely it is a failure of local government to do its job.

      You say policing is a state/local responsibility – that is mostly correct.

      We expect the police to stop riots. to stop arson, to stop property destruction, to stop assaults.

      We expect that they will not ask the politics of the rioters or their victims before doing so.

      As to your claim of federalism – absolutely the Portland police should have protected the federal buildings.

      They have failed to do so – DELIBERATELY.

      That is not a choice they can make.

      The enforcement of the laws of the land is NOT subject to political discretion.

      The police are not there for democracts but not republlicans. the rich but not the poor.

      Portland is a glarringly obvious failure of the left.

      It is a neon sign to the world that democrats are lawless and have become completely coopted b y the extreme left.

      It would serve Portland right if the federal government completely withdrew. Leave Portland to its own.
      No federal services or funds of any kind – do not collect federal taxes from Portland, do not provide social security, welfare etc.

      Let Portland deal with its own mess.

      But that is not going to happen. We did not allow the south to succeed – Federalism, States rights, have a limit.

      Thus far the federal response has been tame.
      Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson sent federal troops into the south.

      Trump would be justified in sending the military to Portland.
      But there is a difference between what he CAN do and what he SHOULD do.

      As to elsewhere. ATF and FBI agents are being deployed to enforce federal laws.
      As a practical matter they do not have the ability to significantly impact the rising crime in major cities.
      Policing is fundimentally a local issue.

      But this is not some Federal invasion. It is political in that Trump needs to be seen doing something.
      But it is also proper. It is just not consequential.

      It is also not even the smallest threat to states and localities.

      I would finally note that federalism and the powers delegated to the state as well as the constitution do not allow the states and localities to govern as they please. No state can choose to switch to a communist government or dictatorship.
      The constitution empowers the federal government to intervene in extreme cases of government failure – even wilfull and deliberate ones.

      The south was not allowed to succeed.

      And the civil war turned hot over southern attacks on federal property.

      The right of the federal government to defend its own property in the states – even from the states themselves is well established.

      600,000 americans died over it.

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