Recorded on multiple videos knocking the phone out of a black woman’s hand and assaulting her for no apparent reason, a Chicago police officer remains under investigation while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recently recommended relieving the officer of his police powers or placing him on administrative leave.
At 12:12 a.m. on August 28, Nikkita Brown was walking her dog towards the beach in Lincoln Park when a Chicago cop confronted her because the beach reportedly closes at 11 p.m. According to cellphone video taken by Brown, the unidentified officer activated his body camera before saying, “Yeah, I’ll turn my camera on, make this an official incident.”
Brown responded, “That’s fine.”
As the cop approached Brown, he stated, “Now, understand this—”
“Please, don’t,” Brown interrupted while stepping back. “Please, respect my space. It’s COVID. Six feet. You do not have a mask on.”
“I don’t need a mask on,” the officer retorted. “I’m outside.”
In a separate video, the cop abruptly grabbed the cellphone out of Brown’s hands and knocked it to the ground. While the officer gripped Brown’s arms and managed to lock her left arm behind her back, Brown repeatedly pleaded with the cop as her small dog jumped on his right leg.
A third video recorded by other witnesses revealed the officer physically assaulting Brown for nearly a minute as the bystanders yelled at the cop to stop hurting her. In all three videos, Brown does not appear to fight back or attack the officer in any way.
Although the cop used force on Brown, the second video showed that he did not arrest her or give her any citation. Brown was not charged with a crime, and the white officer never filled out an arrest report or incident report explaining why he attacked a black woman walking her dog.
On Sunday, the Chicago Police Department released the following 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 @ChicagoCOPA when we became aware of the incident.”
The next day, COPA recommended that the Chicago Police Department “relieve the officer, captured in a widely circulated video on social media at a Chicago beach, of his police powers or place him on administrative duties during the pendency of its investigation.” COPA also issued the following press release: “COPA has obtained and reviewed the body worn camera video of the involved Chicago Police officer engaging the woman as she walks her dog as a part of its investigation. COPA Investigators also canvassed the scene of the incident which occurred Saturday morning, August 28, 2021 and identified several additional video cameras in the area that may have captured the incident. Requests to obtain those videos are pending.”
“I was quite disturbed by what I saw. It looked like the woman was following the direction of the officer and leaving the beach,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated on Monday. “What I would urge is this is a pretty straightforward matter…It’s concerning what we saw on the video. But I want to make sure that COPA moves this to the top of the priority list and gets this done. I think this woman deserves to have answers as to what happened, as do members of the public.”