Chicago’s police oversight agency is investigating after a Chicago police officer physically struggled with a Black woman who was walking her dog at North Avenue Beach early Saturday. The incident was captured on at least three different phone videos, including one made by the woman herself — before the cop knocked the device from her hand, according to her lawyer.
A number on top of the officer’s squad car indicates that he was assigned to CPD’s traffic enforcement unit, which patrols Lake Shore Drive, and would not typically be assigned to a beach security assignment, according to a person familiar with the department’s operations.
Nikkita Brown went to the beach with her dog around 12:12 a.m. and was approached by the officer because the park was closed, according to a statement from her attorney, Keenan Saulter. One video distributed by Saulter’s office shows part of the initial interaction between Brown and the officer:
Brown asked the cop to stay six feet away due to her concerns about COVID. Saulter said she told the officer during the initial interaction that she and the dog were leaving the park.
Another video, filmed by someone inside a vehicle shows the cop “shooing” Brown away from the beach before he appears to grab for her phone and then grapples with her for more than a minute as she screams:
A third video captures the altercation from another angle:
Saulter said the videos show the officer “violently attacks her for absolutely no reason. He attempts to tackle her, all while groping her body as she screams for help. This unprovoked attack lasts for approximately two minutes, during this time Ms. Brown’s phone is knocked from her hands and she is knocked out of her shoes.”
“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,” Saulter’s statement said. “This was an obvious case of racial profiling.”
Brown went home and called 911. A sergeant from the 18th (Near North) District responded and took her report, according to Saulter.
The Chicago Police Department said in a tweet Sunday evening that it “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, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, confirmed in a separate tweet that it is investigating and had been in contact with the woman’s attorney.