CHICAGO — A video circulating on social media involving a woman being restrained by a Chicago police officer after apparently walking her dog along the lakefront has prompted a response from the department, saying they are aware of the incident.
In a statement, the law office of Saulter Law P.C. said Nikkita Brown was “brutally attacked” by a CPD officer who allegedly approached her because she was in Lincoln Park after hours. The incident occurred early Saturday morning, Aug. 28.
In the widely shared video, Brown is heard asking the officer, who was unmasked, to keep a distance of six feet.
The statement adds that Brown took out her cellphone to record the officer, allegedly as she was preparing to leave the park. The unidentified officer is then seen getting into a physical altercation with Brown. Bystanders recorded the incident, which attorneys said lasted about two minutes.
Attorneys believe the altercation was race-based. Brown, who is Black, allegedly walked along the park as a group of four women, who were white, walked behind her.
“This was an obvious case of racial profiling,” the statement read.
In response to the allegations, Chicago police released the following Sunday statement: “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 the Civilian Office of Police Accountability] when we became aware of the incident.”
Monday morning, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said he was still waiting to hear the officer’s account of the incident.
“I know it’s frustrating to the public to wait, once you see a viral video, for a conclusion to the investigation,” he said. “But COPA is just starting. I would ask the public would allow COPA to complete its investigation.”
Early Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted her response, saying she was “deeply concerned.”
Later, at an unrelated news conference, Lightfoot was asked about the video.
“I saw the video,” she said. “I was quite disturbed by what I saw. It looked like the woman was following the directions of the officer leaving the beach.”
Early Monday evening, COPA announced their recommendation that Brown relieves the officer captured in the video of his duties or be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
“We are committed to a fair, timely and objective investigation to determine if the actions of the involved officer are in accordance with Department Policy and Training,” said COPA Interim Chief Andrea Kersten. “We have a responsibility to investigate allegations of police misconduct and determine if they are well founded based on the facts and evidence of each case. If violations did occur, COPA will hold the officer accountable.”
COPA said it remains in communication with Brown’s attorneys but will have no further comment at this time.
According to police, Supt. Brown, on Monday morning, directed that the officer involved in an incident be placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation by COPA.