Charges dropped against cop whose confrontation with woman at North Avenue Beach went viral

Video grabs from footage released in 2021 by attorneys who represented Nikkita Brown | Saulter Law PC

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Chicago police officer accused of attacking a woman who walked her dog after hours at North Avenue Beach.

Bruce Dyker, 53, now retired from the force, faced felony aggravated battery and official misconduct charges in the wake of the August 2021 incident. But the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped the entire case during a hearing before Judge William Gamboney on Tuesday.

Some veteran prosecutors privately expressed doubts about the strength of the state’s case during interviews following Dyker’s direct indictment by a grand jury.

It is widely believed within the state’s attorney’s office that the office’s chief of investigations resigned in protest after top Kim Foxx aide Risa Lanier filed the case against Dyker. The grand jury indictment was filed with the court on June 7, 2022, and chief investigator Robert Roache sent resignation emails to colleagues two days later.

“I am resigning with my integrity, morals, and ethics intact,” Roache wrote in one message to colleagues.

Yet, the state’s attorney’s office pressed ahead until suddenly walking away from the matter without offering a public explanation.

Chicago’s police oversight agency quickly launched an investigation after a video of the incident went viral two years ago. The footage, showing a Chicago police officer physically struggling with a Black woman who was walking her dog alone at North Avenue Beach, sparked a fiery debate.

A lawyer for the woman, Nikkita Brown, released videos of the incident, including one made by Brown personally — before the Dyker knocked the phone from her hand, according to her lawyer.

Brown went to the beach with her dog around 12:12 a.m. and was approached by the officer because the park was closed, the lawyer, Keenan Saulter, said in 2021. Saulter said Brown asked the cop to stay six feet away due to her concerns about COVID, then said she and the dog would be leaving the park.

Another video, filmed by someone inside a vehicle, showed Dyker “shooing” Brown away from the beach before he grabbed her phone and grappled with her for more than a minute.

Saulter said the videos showed Dyker “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.

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