Chicago, IL – Chicago’s Civilian Officer Of Police Accountability (COPA) launched an investigation on Sunday into a viral video that showed a scuffle between a Chicago police officer and a woman walking her dog after-hours at a lakefront park (video below).
Attorneys for Nikkita Brown said in a press release that she was walking her dog at about 12:12 a.m. on Aug. 28 when she encountered a Chicago police officer, WMAQ reported.
Brown said the officer told her he was kicking her off the beach because the park closed at 11 p.m., WBBM reported.
But her lawyers said in their press release that Brown, who is black, claimed she could see other people in the distance walking on the beach, but they were white.
Brown said she started filming the officer with her cell phone as he approached her, WBBM reported.
“I’ll turn my camera on,” the officer told her in the video.
That’s when the video showed Brown began yelling at the officer to keep back and “respect my space” because he didn’t have a mask on.
“Six feet!” she yelled. “You do not have a mask on!”
The video showed that Brown wasn’t wearing a mask, either.
The officer told her in the video that he didn’t need a mask because he was outside.
A cell phone video filmed by a city employee showed that Brown did not immediately follow the officer’s commands to leave the closed park and continued to turn back around to film him, rather than walk away, as he visibly shooed her out of the park with his arms.
Then she stopped, faced him, and started fooling with her phone, the video showed.
The conversation between the two cannot be heard on the video but it appeared the officer continued to order Brown to leave the park and she continued to ignore him and film him with her phone instead.
The video showed the officer reached out to take the phone from Brown’s hand and chaos erupted.
Brown refused to relinquish her phone to the officer and the two began struggling.
During the altercation, Brown stepped out of her shoes and dropped a bag she was carrying, and eventually also dropped her phone to the pavement, the video showed.
As the two struggled, Brown’s small white dog repeatedly jumped on the officer and tried to get between the uniformed man and his owner.
The video showed the officer finally gained control of Brown and held her still for a moment as he talked to her.
Then he calmly released her and picked her phone up from the road and handed it to her, the video showed.
Brown picked up the other items she had dropped and stepped into her shoes, and walked away.
The cell phone video, which appeared to have been filmed by a bus driver parked nearby, ended as the officer returned to his patrol vehicle.
Brown’s attorneys said she returned home and called 911 after the incident, WMAQ reported.
Chicago police have not yet identified the officer in the viral video but said they were aware of the video and had referred the matter to COPA, WBBM reported.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also said she was aware and “deeply concerned” about 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
Brown’s lawyer have claimed that the officer was trying to tackle her and groped her body, WMAQ reported.
“He attempts to tackle her, all while groping her body as she screams for help,” the attorneys said in the press release. “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.”
The lawyers called the encounter racially-motivated, WMAQ reported.
“This was an obvious case of racial profiling,” they said.
In the press release, the attorneys claimed Brown was suffering “emotional trauma” after the “brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack,” WMAQ reported.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: