White Chicago officer's struggle with Black woman walking dog under investigation

ByAlexis McAdams and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
White Chicago officer's struggle with Black woman under investigation
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In the cellphone video recorded early Saturday morning at North Avenue Beach, a woman can be heard screaming for help as she struggles with a CPD officer.

CHICAGO -- A white Chicago police officer has been placed on desk duty as the city's police oversight agency investigates a video that appears to show the officer in an altercation with a Black woman walking her dog.

In cellphone video recorded early Saturday morning at North Avenue Beach in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood, a woman can be heard screaming for help as she struggles with a CPD officer.

The woman's attorney said the altercation began after the officer seen in the video allegedly asks the woman to leave the beach because it was closed. Following that order, the video shows an altercation between the two.

The woman's attorney said that other people were walking out on the beach, but feels she was targeted because of her race.

"For some reason, this officer decided to specifically interact, and then ultimately address and attack Ms. Brown," said Keenan Saulter, the woman's attorney.

Saulter identified the woman as Nikkita Brown and said she is traumatized from the encounter.

Her lawyer called the incident a brutal and unprovoked attack, saying that she was leaving the beach when the officer put his hands on her.

"She was always in the process of leaving," he said. " She was always walking out of the park."

Supt. Brown addresses video of officer altercation with woman walking dog

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown discusses the videos showing an altercation between an officer and a Black woman walking her dog near North Avenue Beach.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown addressed the video during a news conference Monday morning.

"What we do know is there was some closure of the beach, apparently, that preceded this interaction," Brown said. "That is the extent of what we know. We don't have an arrest apparently by this officer and don't fully understand because we have not interviewed this officer and COPA will be in charge of that interview. I believe COPA has reached out to the person you see on video walking the dog that had a struggle with the officer. I believe they are initiating that conversation."

Brown said there is also video from the officer's body camera. The superintendent also asked the public to withhold judgment until the Citizen's Office of Police Accountability can complete its investigation.

COPA said in an update Monday afternoon that it recommends Brown relieve the officer of his police powers or place him on administrative duties while it completes its investigation.

A Chicago police spokesman said Monday afternoon: "Superintendent David O. Brown this morning directed that the officer involved in an incident with a woman walking her dog along a lakefront beach be placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation by the civilian office of police accountability."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a full investigation into the now-viral video on Monday afternoon.

"I saw the video. I was quite disturbed by what I saw," Lightfoot said. "I want to make sure that COPA moves this up to the top of the priority list and gets this done."

Community activists have expressed outrage over the incident.

"We're asking and we're demanding that Lori Lightfoot remove this individual, release the host footage and also his name so we know who we are actually talking about," said Lamar Woodfield of the No More Foundation.

"If we had no video camera, what would have happened to this woman?" said witness Troy Gaston.

Gaston was walking his dog when he recorded the video.

The Chicago Police Department responded to the video, saying in a tweet that they are aware of the video and are working with COPA on the matter.

COPA said in a separate tweet that they are working with Nikkita Brown's attorney.

"We absolutely want a full investigation," Saulter said. "Our challenge is, we want this officer identified so we can formally make a complaint."

Nikkita Brown's lawyer said she called 911 when she made it back home, claiming that she told a CPD sergeant the altercation started while the officer was in his squad car.

Nikkita Brown added that other people were walking out on the beach at the same time, but feels she was targeted because of her race.

COPA is asking anyone who witnessed the incident or has additional information or video regarding the incident, to contact them at chicagocopa.org or 312-746-3609.