It’s an “obvious case of racial profiling,” according to her lawyer.
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.
— Patricia Roberts (@luv4u) August 29, 2021
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.
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) August 29, 2021
COPA in turn confirmed that it was investigating:
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.
— COPA (@ChicagoCOPA) August 30, 2021
News of the incident also reached Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who tweeted on Monday she was “deeply concerned” by the video:
I am deeply concerned by what is depicted on the lakefront beach in that video.
I am aware of the incident and it is currently under investigation.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) August 30, 2021
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