Chicago officer seen struggling with Black woman who was walking her dog placed on desk duty

A Chicago Police officer has been placed on administrative duty after a video appeared to show him grabbing a woman walking her dog at a local beach, Police Superintendent David Brown announced Monday. The woman, who has been identified by her attorneys as Nikkita Brown, called 911 and said she was racially profiled, CBS Chicago reports.

The bystander video shows Brown walking her dog on the beach around midnight on Sunday. Her attorneys, from Saulter Law P.C., say the officer approached her because the beach closes at 11 p.m. Brown, who is Black, was not the only person on the beach, her attorneys say. She saw other people, who were White, walking in the distance, according to CBS Chicago.

When the officer approached her, Brown began filming him. In her video, Brown asks the officer to keep his distance because of COVID-19.

The officer is heard saying he does not need a mask because he is outside. He then attempts to handcuff her and the two struggle for a bit. Brown’s attorneys say the officer tried to tackle her. Eventually, the officer stops and they both walk away. Brown’s lawyer said she suffered emotional trauma.

“Even if she did use terse language with that officer, prior to anything we see on video, per the Chicago Police Department general orders, there is absolutely no cause – even if someone calls you a name or says a curse word to you – for you to grope or manhandle a woman, by herself,” an attorney representing Brown said.

Records show the officer has been on the force since September 28, 1998, CBS Chicago reports. He has at least 24 misconduct allegations against him, three of which were sustained and resulted in discipline, according to CBS Chicago

After Saturday’s incident, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability advised that the officer should either be put on administrative duty or relieved of duty. The officer agreed to a 20-day suspension after the allegations against him were sustained by the Independent Police Review Authority – the predecessor organization to COPA.

COPA is continuing to investigate Saturday’s incident and said it has obtained the body cam video from the incident and is requesting video from several additional cameras in the area.

“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,” COPA Interim Chief Andrea Kersten said in a news release. “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.”

In addition to the COPA investigation, the Chicago Police superintendent announced an internal police investigation as well.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that she is “deeply concerned” about the incident. 

Caitlin O’Kane contributed reporting.

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