It's an "obvious case of racial profiling," according to her lawyer.
update 8/31/2021 7:00 AM
The officer involved has been identified, and placed on desk duty.
On Monday, Police Superintendent David Brown said the officer in the video had been moved to administrative duty as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the incident.
COPA had recommended either this, or he be relieved of his police powers entirely, ABC reported.
"We are committed to a fair, timely and objective investigation to determine if the actions of the involved officer are in accordance with Department Policy and Training," COPA Interim Chief Andrea Kersten said in a statement.
"We have a responsibility to investigate allegations of police misconduct and determine if they are well founded based on the facts and evidence of each case. If violations did occur, COPA will hold the officer accountable."
Superintendent Brown said he wants to "get more facts" before any further potential punishment is handed out.
"Apparently there was a closure of that area of the beach and then that precipitated the interaction. We don't yet know what was done or said. All we know is this person was not arrested and yet the officer had, obviously you see the interaction on the video," he said at a news conference.
"I would just ask the public to allow COPA to do its job and get to the bottom of what happened."
He said the officer involved had not yet been interviewed.
Speaking at an unrelated press conference Monday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she hoped COPA moved the investigation to the top of its priority list.
"I was quite disturbed by what I saw," she said. "It looked like the woman was following the direction of the officer and leaving the beach … I think this woman deserves to have answers as to what happened, as do members of the public."
original story 8/30/2021 3:55 PM
A disturbing video showing an altercation between a Chicago officer and a lone woman in a park after dark is being investigated by police watchdogs.
The incident occurred just after midnight Friday as the woman, Nikkita Brown, was walking her dog near the lakefront in Lincoln Park. The footage, shot by a witness, shows the officer approach and confront Brown, allegedly because she was in the park after it had closed.
As she backs away in the direction he is ordering, he continues to follow her. According to Brown's lawyer Keenan J. Saulter, who shared the footage on social media, Brown had asked him to keep six feet back, as he was unmasked. But as the video shows, he remains right in her face even as she backpedals.
"It is important to note, that from her initial engagement with this Officer, Ms. Brown advised him that she and her dog were leaving the park," Saulter claimed.
But when Brown stops to take out her cellphone and record the encounter, the officer suddenly lunges and tries to grab it from her hands. He twists her arm around and begins pulling her around; her terrified screams can be heard across the park.
The altercation continues for well over a minute; as he wrestles the much smaller woman, her shoes come off, she drops her phone, and her tiny dog — who is getting dragged around alongside her on its leash — appears just as scared as she is.
According to Saulter, it was an "obvious case of racial profiling."
"As you will note, there were other individuals in the park that night, as Ms. Brown saw a group of approximately four White people walking some distance behind her, but in view of this Officer just prior to the beginning of their engagement (which started while the Officer was in his vehicle and Ms. Brown was walking)," he wrote.
After returning home, Brown immediately called 911. A sergeant from the 18th District came to her house and took her statement, promising to bring her back a copy that morning. According to Saulter, she still hasn't received it.
"Ms. Brown is suffering from emotional trauma as a result of this brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack by this Chicago Police Department Officer," he wrote. "Please help us identify this Officer so we can make a formal complaint."
On Sunday night, Chicago PD tweeted that it was aware of the footage, and had alerted police watchdog COPA, or Chicago Office of Police Accountability. COPA is not part of the CPD but, as their website states, "a completely independent agency within the City of Chicago responsible for the intake of all complaints regarding allegations of misconduct by CPD members and the investigation of such allegations."
CPD is aware of a video circulating on social media regarding an incident involving a Chicago Police officer and a woman walking her dog at North Avenue Beach. CPD promptly referred the matter to @ChicagoCOPA when we became aware of the incident.
COPA is aware of the incident & video currently circulating on social media regarding a CPD officer & woman with her dog on a Chicago beach. We are investigating and in communication with the woman’s attorney.